Within minutes of being born our first daughter latched on to feed beautifully. After the shock of the initial soreness of having your nipples sucked the whole time (plus having to recover from a Day One nip), within a few weeks my nipples had gotten used to it and I was able to feed in comfort. (Until teeth and biting become an issue that is!) In fact, as a newborn, 3YO’s latch was so good, when I had to go back into hospital when she was just 3 weeks old with a bad case of mastitis, midwives kept popping in to watch her feed, they were so impressed with her latch!
So when our second daughter was born, I expected things to go the same way. They more or less did. She latched on well, slept well, put on weight, weed, pooed etc.
But that ‘initial soreness’ didn’t seem to go away as quickly – especially on my right side. She was five weeks old and I was still in a fair amount of pain when I was feeding. I put it down to not having as much time to focus on her feeds, now having a very active two and a half year old to deal with at the same time.
I kept meaning to go to a breastfeeding clinic / cafe to get her latch checked, but one had closed down and moved somewhere else when I got there, others were at awkward times on awkward days in awkward places, etc etc, so I just never got round to it. I think I just thought I’d ‘toughen up’ in time.
Around the same time though, I was very slightly concerned that 11MO (then 5WO) was getting a flat(ish) patch on one side of her head. So I took her to see Nargis to see what she thought.
Going there was amazing.
During our session Nargis was able to determine – and fix – the fact that she had a ‘cricked neck’. Because her birth had been so fast and furious, during the delivery she’d strained her neck. It was nothing terrible and she wasn’t in any pain, but just stiff and unable to properly turn her head to her left. This was both impacting the way she slept and turned (or didn’t turn) her head, creating the flatness, and how she was able to turn her head to feed on my right side.
After our appointment, the difference was incredible. 11MO kept turning her head to the left in wonderment that this whole new world had opened up to her. It was only as she was doing this I realised she just hadn’t been turning her head fully that way before. And when she latched on for her first feed after the appointment, the reduction in pain was immediately noticeable. It was brilliant. From then on in my nipples fully healed and toughen up, and we were pain free for the rest of my breastfeeding her.
It’s so strange how obvious these things seem in retrospect, but you just don’t notice or think of them at the time. I’m so glad we went to visit Nargis and so pleased with how she was able to help us both. As our visit to Nargis was so beneficial to us, I’d like to invite Nargis to explain a little bit about cranial osteopathy, how it works and the benefits, in case you’re interested too.
Nargis – over to you:
It is always so wonderful to see how babies adapt the best they can, to any strain experienced at birth. My experience is that they often feed well, but unfortunately it’s not always comfortably for Mum!
Nature has designed that babies suck, cry and feed to release any unnecessary tension and cranial osteopathy works to support this process. I allow the baby to guide me through the treatment at the same time checking all anatomical features relevant to the presenting problem. With feeding for example, it is important to ensure that the nerves supplying the tongue are not being pinched.
The favouring of a baby’s head to one side can often be a result of how they presented during labour. If they were twisted on presentation, this will show in their neck, shoulder and jaw – hence a baby will only turn their head to the side that feels most comfortable and develop a flat side to the skull. Because a baby’s head is soft and growing rapidly after the birth, laying on one side or only the back of the head, will quickly alter the shape. The benefit of treatment is to ensure babies can lay comfortably on all sides of their head and maintain a balanced head shape as they develop and grow.
I have treated may babies who were struggling to find an efficient latch on the breast. The reason being they tucked their heads down and could not swallow freely, especially in cases when the placenta cord had been around their neck during birth. Even if Mums experience a traumatic start with feeding, they need to know help is on hand and so many feeding problems can be easily resolved by very gently balancing the baby’s neck and jaw.
Cranial osteopathy is safe and non-invasive, over the past 11 years I have treated many Mums and babies and it is always a delight to see the relief in Mums when their baby feeds and moves comfortably, my aim is about making the whole experience healthier and happier.
So if you or your baby are experiencing any soreness or stiffness in those early days and weeks, I highly recommend going to see a cranial osteopath - they can work absolute wonders!!
With love from our family to yours,