Above photo credit: Livie Faye Photography
Our Bodies are Incredible
It’s no secret that the big man upstairs made no mistakes when he created the human body in all its perfection - especially the female body. Women's bodies are incredible. I need to repeat that. WOMEN'S BODIES ARE INCREDIBLE! We can feed a tiny human for 1, 2, 3, or however many years that we desire. Your breast milk morphs to your baby's needs. When the saliva from the baby’s mouth touches the nipple, a woman’s body immediately begins creating the exact recipe of antibodies and nutrients that the little babe needs to be healthy and grow. When a woman has twins (or has two kiddos nursing!), if she feeds baby A on one side and baby B on the other, and if she were to pump for a session, you will actually be able to see the difference in the coloring of the milks based on each baby’s needs. How incredible is that!?
Cluster Feeding is a THING
Shortly after birth (within the first few days after giving birth) you may experience your first cluster feeding with your little babe. Many moms feel like there is something wrong with their baby, they are not producing enough milk, it is the beginning of colic, etc. This is an area where more information really should be given to new moms. Cluster feeding is a totally normal thing! Yes it may be more exhausting in the short run but your tiny babe is increasing your milk supply and it’s a sign of a growth spurt. A lot of times it seems that baby goes through this period at night time especially, but it can be because they are gearing up to sleep for longer spurts than they might during the day. This is also a way of your little one trying to figure out self-soothing. When you feel like baby is crying more than he/she typically does and that baby “should be full” because you have just nursed, remember this is a sign of cluster feeding. Sitting on your couch and letting baby latch on and off for a few hours in between falling asleep helps! But if baby still wakes up again craving more milk, remind yourself you are doing everything right. Ride out the day or two until your little one gets back on a typical 3-4 hour feeding schedule. Enjoy those snuggles because before you know it, baby will be in school!
Benefits of breastfeeding
CONNECTION: Breastfeeding creates the perfect space for strengthening the bond between mama and baby. It is a time for nurturing and comfort - babies will look to nurse in time of sickness, stress, and to regain security after being scared. If you are a working mama, your baby might seek to breastfeed more when you're home simply because he or she missed being close to you throughout the day. It’s all a beautiful part of the mother/baby bond.
IMMUNITY: Breast milk is the best supply of natural immunity. It helps to boost baby’s immune system with key substances including antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells. These substances protect your baby against a wide variety of diseases and infections not only while he or she is breastfeeding but also long after weaning.
NUTRITION: nursing can provide the exact nutrition that your baby needs. It has nearly the perfect combination of protein, vitamins, and fats that are so important to your baby’s growth, especially during those early months and years. This perfect combination will also change throughout the growth process to meet your baby's needs!
EMPOWERMENT: how incredible is it to watch your baby grow and thrive on your breastmilk alone?! There’s a reason why so many Mamas call it liquid gold.
HEALING: the oxytocin (feel-good hormone!) that is released when your baby nurses helps your uterus contract, which helps to reduce post-delivery blood loss. Breastfeeding will also help your uterus return to its normal size at a faster pace. It typically takes about 4 weeks less for this to occur than for someone who is not breastfeeding.
When Things Go Wrong
It can be extremely emotional and frustrating when women experience difficulties with latching, baby has preference to one breast over the other, or even developing mastitis. It can take a toll on a new Mama. But nursing shouldn’t hurt or be uncomfortable for mama or baby. If you are experiencing any of these issues, connecting with the right pediatric chiropractor, lactation consultant and/or pediatric dentist (one who specializes in frenectomies) is so important.
Your little one could have a tongue and/or lip tie that is interfering with the ability to breastfeed pain free. Most pediatric dentists who specialize in tongue/lip tie revisions will give complimentary consultations to talk with parents about what they see and what mom/baby are experiencing with breastfeeding and discuss if baby would benefit from a frenectomy procedure.
Often times, the biggest culprit comes from an interference in the nervous system, and the nervous system controls every single bone, tissue, muscle, organ system, nook and cranny of your body! And in many cases, that first interference occurs during the beautiful delivery process. In long births, difficult births, fast births, home births, hospital births, cesarean births - however you strong Mama brought that baby earthside - tightness and tension in the neck, shoulders, and jaw can occur and let us know that there is an interference to the nervous system. This can make it difficult for the newborn to have a proper sucking pattern or comfortable be able to latch. This is where a pediatric chiropractor can help!
How can Chiropractic help Breastfeeding?
Chiropractic care in its truest and purest form is about correcting spinal subluxations (nerve interferences), which allows the body to do what it is innately designed to do - heal itself. Chiropractors do not treat symptoms. We remove the interferences that are occurring and allow your body to do what it is meant to do! And in this case, we remove the interferences in the neck and jaw that are causing nursing to be difficult or uncomfortable for a newborn. And to do this, we don't use any more pressure than you would use on your eyeball! This allows a baby’s body to express its innate potential and a function at the highest capacity - allowing an easier time of nursing. Click here for research articles about how chiropractic has helped with breastfeeding difficulties.
We Support You
We know that breastfeeding is not easy. It is a huge commitment and there can be highs and lows through all of it. Stress can happen if suddenly your supply starts to drop and you don’t know why. We also know that you might not have access to the support that you need to continue to feed as long as you desire. So if you learn one thing from this post, learn this: we support you. No matter if you have breastfed for two hours or two years and beyond, we support you during this beautiful time of motherhood. And we will connect you with whomever you need on your support team to achieve your nursing goals! You go, Mama!
SHARE YOUR JOURNEY with breastfeeding in the comments below! We love hearing your beautiful stories and your story just might help encourage + support another mama who needs to hear it today!
If you’re having latch difficulties with your precious little one, reach out to us to schedule an appointment to get your kiddos checked by Dr. Mary Beth! Not in the DFW area? Send us an email and we will connect you with a fabulous pediatric chiropractor in your area!