A case study published in the January 17, 2013, issue of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health documented the resolution of breastfeeding difficulties in an eight-week-old infant. Breastfeeding difficulties are typically characterized by an inability of the infant to exercise the normal innate suckling reflex.
The authors discuss the importance of breastfeeding by noting, “Infants that are breastfed are 50% less likely to experience acute otitis media if breastfed for at least 3-6 months, they are 40% less likely to have asthma even with a familial history and also those exclusively breastfed for at least 4 months were 3 times less likely to suffer severe respiratory tract infections.”
In this case, an eight-week-old infant girl was brought to the chiropractor with the inability to suck properly and with difficulty breastfeeding since birth. The infant was also born with hip dysplasia, and was wearing a soft brace which was being adjusted by the orthopedist weekly. The infant’s mother was advised by her lactation consultant to see a chiropractor for her daughter’s difficulties with breastfeeding.
During a chiropractic examination, it was noted that the infant was in distress due to the hip dysplasia. The examination showed head tilt and other imbalances along with positive indicators for abnormal neurological reflexes. These findings, along with palpation of the spine, led to the conclusion that subluxations were present affecting nerve system function.
Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated to correct the subluxations. The authors noted that, “The goals for continued treatment were to restore function to allow the patient to latch on and breastfeed without distress.” On the third visit, the infant’s mother brought her lactation consultant to observe. The authors reported that the infant showed continual improvement to the point where she was able to normally breastfeed by the third chiropractic adjustment.
In their conclusion the authors explain, “The normal newborn is neurologically equipped to breastfeed from his mother and it must be considered that biomechanical disruptions can alter this process. The benefits of breastfeeding are well established. It is an essential physiological process that provides not only nutrition but protects the infant from infection and builds the strength of the newborn’s immune system.” They sum this case up by saying, “In this case the infant responded favorably to chiropractic care. After the third adjustment was given, successful breastfeeding was established and this continued throughout infancy.”