Jul 152012

In: Proceedings of the 134th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association. Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association. Washington, D.C., Nov 4-7, 2007:


Authors: Spegman A, Haas M, Hewitt EG


National and international public health goals promote breastfeeding throughout the 1st year of life. The majority of mothers exclusively breastfeed after birth, yet 37% terminated breastfeeding by 2-weeks and 70% by 2-months. Mothers who discontinued breastfeeding after 1-month reported problems with their infant latching or sucking. It is noteworthy that the bulk of intervention for breastfeeding difficulty is mother-directed. Fewer interventions are available to the motivated mother whose breastfeeding commitment is thwarted by problems originating with the infant.

Given the increasing use of CAM therapies, it is not surprising that mothers are seeking chiropractic consultation for ongoing breastfeeding difficulties. Neonatal assessments often reveal an abnormal head posture, tongue motion, or suck reflex. It is possible that positions in-utero or trauma during birth may disturb the neuromuscular coordination and stamina required for successful breastfeeding. It is hypothesized that chiropractic care may reduce such dysfunction through gentle adjustments of the head and neck.

A preliminary study was conducted to assess the feasibility of research on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment for breastfeeding difficulties. Participants included 12 self-referred mothers and their infants, aged 12-days to 9-weeks (M=5.2wks). Prior to care, 9 mothers consulted lactation specialists (M=3 times) and reported dissatisfaction with breastfeeding (M=2.1 on 10-point scale; 10=satisfied). Infants received 3-9 chiropractic treatments (M=6) over several weeks. This presentation describes characteristics, birth experiences, and breastfeeding difficulties prior to care, and maternal satisfaction with breastfeeding and infant weight gain at 4-weeks post treatment and 6-months of age. Challenges surrounding neonatal chiropractic research will be discussed.

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