Breastfeeding blues

Every mum-to-be is told of the benefits of breastfeeding; but what about those who wish to breastfeed but find it a painful or stressful experience? Or for those whose baby is struggling to latch and suck?

As paediatric osteopaths we see many babies having difficulties. Some babies just seem to know what to do, while others can really struggle.

So as a new mum, once you know that you’ve got the correct technique but are still having problems, then it’s worth having your baby checked for musculoskeletal problems which could be the cause of the feeding problems.

Musculoskeletal disorders are muscle and joint problems usually resulting from either the birth process (labour and delivery) or the position of the baby in the uterus during pregnancy. These very often involve neck issues, but if a baby is distracted by musculoskeletal pain anywhere in their body, it seems reasonable to assume that this could make feeding more challenging.


Typical signs that musculoskeletal issues are a factor in breastfeeding problems include:


- the baby pushing off the breast

- difficulty with turning head left or right

- difficulty in achieving an effective latch

- difficulty extending the neck in order to open the mouth wide enough (a clue that this is happening with your baby is if their head control is strong and stiff, as opposed to naturally floppy

- ineffective suckling, often giving the mother sore nipples

- distress or discomfort when being positioned for breast feeding


People are often surprised that babies may need physical therapy. There are many reasons why a parent may decide to bring their baby to an osteopath, and these are typically linked to muscle and joint problems, and the effect that these may have on the child’s nervous system.

At Not Just Backs we are often referred babies from midwifes and health visitors. We treat our babies with very gentle cranial osteopathy techniques in order to reduce the tension in the muscles and improve function of the joints.


Early and consistent breastfeeding support can often make the difference in a mother and baby’s ability to establish a functional breastfeeding relationship. So, if you are struggling, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01722 512 043 to book an appointment.


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