Breastfeeding is a tender time of connecting and nourishing your baby. But many women and babies have challenges in feeding. With help you can settle into breastfeeding that’s easy for your baby and painless for you.
How is breastfeeding going for you and your baby?
Breastfeeding, as part of nature’s design, is beautiful, but may not go perfectly. Birth can have major impacts on your baby that impede breastfeeding. These can be resolved with gentle bodywork. Mother’s bodies vary, and the breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby is unique. Personalized counsel and support for your baby can make the difference.
- Painful breastfeeding
- Poor latch
- Thrashing or fussing at breast
- Sleepy baby, on/off feedings
- Poor weight gain
- Inadequate milk production
- Weak suck
- One sided nursing or preference
- Prolonged, ineffective feeds
- Short, incomplete feeds
- Recurrent plugged ducts
Complications from birth
Birth entails strong compression forces on your baby’s head, neck, and spine. This is true whether your baby went through vaginal birth or c-section delivery. While this is a natural aspect of birth, and your baby is extraordinarily resilient, some babies’ cranial bones are displaced enough to need help. If your baby has gone through a very prolonged or intense birth, a sudden arrival, forceps, vacuum, or c-sections, displaced cranial bones may interfere with her ability to latch, suck, or swallow. Birth trauma may also impede breastfeeding.
Poor latch, suck & swallow
Good latch, suck and swallow reflexes are each necessary for successful breastfeeding. A common problem of nursing is poor latch, when your baby’s mouth is not opened wide or his jaw is tight. Except for very premature babies, your newborn’s mouth is big enough to open for a good latch; yet his jaw may be too tight, creating a painful latch. Poor latch often results in poor suck; and then your baby gets little nourishment or requires much effort to nurse. Restrictions around cranial nerves for latch, suck, or swallow can impair your baby’s ability to nurse at all, or require so much work that he gets exhausted trying to feed.
Signs of poor latch are nipple pain that doesn’t ease up after the first few minutes of nursing, or if your baby pops off the breast, or falls asleep on the breast without seeming to take in much milk. If your nursing sessions are very long and frequent, while baby has poor weight gain after the first week, this indicates poor milk supply that may be due to latch and suck problems.
Tongue tie, lip tie, and cheek tie
Some babies have restrictions in their mouths that seriously impede breastfeeding, affect milk production, and create extreme pain for mothers. If your baby has been assessed or diagnosed with tongue, lip or cheek ties, gentle integrative bodywork is recommended by pediatric dentists and IBCLCs.
Our baby was just frantic at the beginning of a nursing. She was not able to be in new situations or with new people, when she would look like a deer in the headlights. After her first session, she slept for five hours straight last night, something she has NEVER done before! Before our next visit, I told my friend, the baby whisperer is coming. Every baby needs this work done.
I was discouraged and anxious about not wanting to feed baby, because it hurt so much. It felt like we were not going to be able to do this.
– Grace Espinoza
Catherine showed us how to do very light touch that made our baby’s able to latch. I felt relieved that I could do something to help. We didn’t need surgeries or procedures for lip tie or tongue tie. Everything has been better after one session.
– Carlos Espinoza
Shortly after our daughter was born, she started having trouble latching on whenever it was time to breastfeed. We were discouraged after just having the most beautiful, natural and easy birth. A few days later I got mastitis. It was awful and so painful; I could barely hold my new baby girl. My midwife encouraged me to keep on breastfeeding and recommended craniosacral therapy to help with her latch.
In the first days my son’s latch had been so extremely tight that I had toe-curling pain and bruising. During craniosacral therapy our baby must have felt how he could open all his little bones and relax his jaw. After Catherine left, every nursing gradually improved, until his latch was open and wide by the next afternoon.
We welcomed our son into the world in a peaceful, natural birth. We marveled at Thor as he immediately nursed at my breast. He was an easy baby from the start, who nursed easily and regularly.
Then when Thor was eight days old, everything changed. His latch disintegrated, getting worse every day. He had fits at the breast; crying, punching, and scratching my breasts and already sore nipples. He spat up all the milk that was so hard to get down. Thor was starving and mad. I was desperate.