What does a poor latch have to do with Chiropractic?


Many times, we see new moms with babies struggling with a poor latch although this is rarely the primary reason they come to us.  More often, the trigger to bring baby in relates to their demeanor or a physical symptom.  Perhaps they are fussy, colicky, maybe not sleeping well, digestive issues, torticolis, ear infections – these tend to be a more primary reason for parents to seek our help. 

What we come to find more often is that a poor latch is a secondary finding – something we ask about while going through a detailed history.  All of these symptoms can relate to each other and as chiropractors, we are looking for one primary underlying cause or contributor – subluxation.  Especially in the upper neck.

What is subluxation?  It is when 2 or more vertebral joints lack proper range of motion or are slightly out of alignment.  This is called dyskinesia, and dyskinesia has a negative impact on the nervous system.   This is significant, but we will leave that for another platform (like our Perfect Storm workshop!)

To summarize, subluxation leads to a nervous system that shifts into a stressed dominant state.

What happens when we are stressed?  It has a global impact on the body whether you are a newborn, or elderly.  Stress dominance does not discriminate.  It can disrupt digestion, sleep, immune function, muscle tone/tension, range of motion, heart rate and pressure….you get the idea.

What we find when subluxation is present is resistance for baby to turn or bend their neck, it can be tender and uncomfortable for baby.  We feel increased tone in the musculature, we can sometimes observe a head tilt, or head rotation, even slight flatness of the baby’s skull (plagiocephaly) where the baby has been favouring a side. 

These changes in movement and alignment relate very much to the nervous system, but also impacts the way the jaw moves, the coordination of the nerves and muscles in the mouth and palate amongst a host of other things.  Discrepancies in movement of the jaw, the palate, and suck strength from left to right will impact baby’s latch, causing them to adapt and create extra “trauma” to mom’s nipples.  It is very common for mom to notice that there is a more comfortable side that baby prefers. 

These are all signs that something isn’t quite right.  Aside from subluxation of the upper neck, it is also important for us to assess for any tongue or lip ties that may be creating problems.  If those are suspected, a referral may be necessary, and adjustments and specific stretches are extremely beneficial to help unwind the midline tension in the neck and cranium of the baby. 

We love working with lactation consultants, too!  Because a collaborative approach leads to better outcomes.

Along with listening to mom and taking a proper history and physical examination, at Uptown Chiropractic we use the newest technology to assess neurological function in all of our patients from a few days old, to 100 years old.  This tech helps us identify disruption in balance of neurological tone, skin temperature and heart rate variability to provide us with objective measures of how the nervous system is impacted by subluxation.   The tech is completely non invasive but gives us a much deeper understanding of what is lying beneath the surface symptoms.

Most often, when we start to unwind subluxation and balance the nervous system out of stress dominance using specific, gentle and extremely safe techniques, we see positive outcomes.  Mechanical improvement of a latch is one of many we are so happy to be a part of! 

Subtle, yet noticable changes in head positioning are clues that something isn’t quite right. Notice the head posture, tilted to the right, as well as a smaller left eye socket.
Visuals of before and after are extremely powerful!

Our doctors are certified in PIPS technique (Pediatric Intraoral Palate Specific technique) and have completed hundreds of hours of pediatric training to best care for your children.

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