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Latching and Nursing Problems: When It Doesn’t Come Naturally

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Latching and Nursing Problems: When It Doesn’t Come Naturally

Latching and Nursing Problems: When It Doesn’t Come Naturally

Many women envision a beautiful bonding experience with their baby through nursing. Others may be more concerned with the nutritional properties of breastfeeding. Whatever the motivation, nursing and latching difficulties can be emotionally devastating and extremely painful.

Babies are born with a primitive reflex for rooting and suckling. They innately know what to do. However, neurological function can be compromised thus decreasing the baby’s innate abilities.  This happens when the first bone of the neck, the atlas, is misaligned and pressing on the brain stem. This can create various other problems, including colic

The atlas can become subluxated through the normal process of birth, but especially when there is any trauma (pulling, twisting), such as the use of forceps.  

If a baby isn’t able to latch correctly, it can be frustrating for the hungry baby and make the mother’s nipples extremely sore.

Inadequate latching can affect the mother’s milk supply. It is the unique motion of a baby suckling that tells her body how much milk to produce and that more is needed. 

Nursing Equally on Both Sides

The baby needs to be able to nurse effectively from both breasts. But if the baby has reduced range of motion from a subluxated atlas, they might not be able to turn their head one way or the other or be unwilling to nurse on both sides. This can be painful for the mother, who will have difficulty emptying one breast. It also results in the baby not getting enough nutrients either. 

As mentioned before, this subluxation could be from birth, however, as babies get older, crawl, play and fall down, they can also become misaligned and not have good enough range of motion to nurse.

When a baby can’t turn their head equally to both sides, they are uncomfortable when sleeping, choosing the same position over and over. This can lead to distorted cranial bones. 

A chiropractic adjustment restores the baby’s range of motion, freeing them to nurse equally on both sides and to latch effectively. Jeanne Ohm, Executive Director of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) explains more about the benefits here.

Lip and Tongue Ties

More and more parents and healthcare professionals are seeing babies who are tongue-tied or have an extremely attached upper lip because of an overproduction of tissue. This can greatly affect a baby’s latch and how they use their tongue. Dr. Katie highly recommends having baby’s mouths examined professionally by a lactation consultant or pediatric dentist.

Chiropractic can be helpful before and after the revision of a tie, where it is cut quickly and easily with a laser. There are specific pediatric dentists who do these procedures. Dr. Katie often refers her patients to Dr. Najmeh Hannavash at Little Star Dentistry.

After a revision, babies and mom can experience a better latch, that is less painful for mom with an increased milk supply for baby. Chiropractic helps the body find a new, healthier alignment. 

It is interesting to note that studies about tongue ties link them to vitamin toxicity and the overuse of synthetic folic acid. The natural version of that molecule is folate – Dr. Katie recommends checking your prenatal vitamins and getting one with folate.  

Get Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with any nursing issues, there is help. Don’t hesitate to come see Dr. Katie for a consultation.  

Dr. Katie Schlein D.C. is a family chiropractor located in Hillcrest, San Diego. You can learn more about her here. She specializes in prenatal, pediatric and youth athlete chiropractic care but serve families of all shapes, sizes and ages. Through mutual support and striving to understand her patients’ needs, Dr. Katie is committed to helping families reach their maximum health with the help of chiropractic care.  




  • Dr. Katie is amazing! I’ve had pelvic pain issues for years and whenever I see her consistently my pain is so much better or totally nonexistent. She has such a great energy and is genuinely cares about every person who walks through her door. I’m always uplifted after going for an adjustment!

    - Kelsey G.
  • Dr. Katie Valadez is an amazing chiropractor and she is genuinely invested in the overall health of her patients. She is very passionate about what she does and her energy and warmth makes me look forward to coming in to get adjusted. Dr. Katie is adaptable and adjusts to peoples different levels of treatment comfort. She goes above and beyond just adjusting; she also provides guidance for patients who are interested in a holistic approach to health.

    - Alli P. Show More
  • Where do I start. I was searching for a new Dr. for sometime. I just hadn't met the right one. The minute I met Dr. Katie I knew. She is very passionate about her work and it shows. From the beginning stages to till now she has gone above and beyond to make sure MY needs are met. I highly recommend Dr. Katie!

    - Randy F. Show More
  • Dr. Katie is a gem! She is an amazing healer and cares deeply for her clients well being. I bring my whole family and we have all seen significant benefit in our health from reduction in headaches, colds and anxiety. That would be enough to keep coming back, but we also love being around her contagious kids even like going so that's the real proof! Thanks Dr. Katie

    - Jamie G Show More
Family Connection Chiropractic

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

(c) Dr. Katie (Schlein) Valadez DC 2020

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