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The Early Days of Breastfeeding

Struggling to get you newborn baby to feed well can be very overwhelming after pregnancy.

Here are a few signs and issues to look out for…


If your baby feeds on one side better than the other, watch your baby over the next few days when they are at rest and see if your baby is happy to turn their head to both sides or if there is a preference. If it’s clearly easier for them to go one way more than the other, this can be an indication there may be some tightness in the neck or shoulder potentially from in utero position or delivery.

Babies may struggle to latch on the uncomfortable side because of the limited neck rotation.

If a baby fusses and fidgets when feeding this may be an indication of discomfort in the back or the top of the head. It may also be a sign of tightness in the neck and shoulders. You can help to avoid this pattern progressing by not resting their head on anything hard while feeding – such as your forearm.

If a baby has a weak-sucking reflex some issues to consider are:

– Unresolved molding problems of the head post birth, which may leave stresses through the face and palate.

– A difficult delivery such as a baby being caught with the cord wrapped around the head or neck may mean the baby was delivered with the head tipped back, with brow or forehead presentation.

– Prolonged natural labor can cause a lot of compressive forces that can be absorbed by the middle of the baby’s head as it passes down the birth canal. This area is near where the nerve that supplies the tongue exits the skull, just behind the ear.

– Flattening of the back of the head can also impact the nerves that supply the tongue.

The weak suck can occur when the nerve is irritated. This usually means the baby’s tongue gets tired easily, struggling to have a good latch.

Osteopathy can treat and help with these feeding issues by easing muscle tightness, help to relive residual tightness and use conservative assessment of your baby’s head molding the cranium. This can help with your position in breastfeeding and the baby’s latch while feeding.

From here, we as practitioners can unwind patterns from in utero and post delivery so that the baby is comfortable. This can help prevent further complications and issues.

It’s so important in the first few months that mum and baby are both comfortable and enjoying breastfeeding. There are many interventions that Osteopath’s can show new mothers such as breastfeeding pillows and positions to hold the baby in to prevent pain or discomfort.


Deanna 2019

This post was written by Dr Deanna Cooper.

You can find out more about Deanna here or book an appointment online here.

Alternatively, you can call the clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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