Many babies that come into see me post birth often have a degree of neck tightness.  This can effect how well a baby attaches to breastfeed.  The upper neck is a hugely important area of the spine, with a large number of nerves exiting the base of the skull, to supply the diaphragm, as well as the most of the internal organs via the Vagus nerve.  How the head and neck work together also has an impact on how the jaw opens and therefore the latch of a baby on the breast.

As a quick test, try tilting your head to one side then opening your mouth, then compare it to how your mouth usually opens.  The change in muscle tension and how the jaw is hanging affects the mobility of the jaw. Without the ability to fully open the mouth, and extend the head backwards it is hard for the baby to get a correct attachment at the breast.

Forceps, ventouse, and inter-utero positioning can all lead to tension in the neck of a baby.  This often means that the baby has a preference to turn their head in one direction.  This can also make feeding from one side harder than the other, and possibly adjusting feeding position to compensate.

The good news in all this though is that Osteopathy can really help!.  When treating babies, I use very gentle techniques to assess and release the tension and improve mobility in the neck and jaw.  This also helps any irritation to the nerves exiting the upper neck and base of the head.  This alongside my training as an infant feeding coach means that there is often ways that together we can approach a baby that isn’t feeding at the breast well.

If you would like to know if I can help, please do get in touch.