Baby A was born three weeks early and struggled to latch, although would occasionally latch to the breast, she was primarily bottle fed with a combination of expressed breast and formula milk. By her fifth week of life, she wasn't latching at all, and so her mother reached out to a local breastfeeding support group Milk Mentors. The breastfeeding peer supporter that visited her mentioned it may benefit Baby A to have some bodywork done to see if it would help, as her mobility seemed very restricted when going to the breast.
About a week later, at approximately 6 weeks of age, an NHS tongue tie referral came through (she had previously been referred and was awaiting the appointment). They were told that Baby A didn’t have a tongue tie but the frenulum was cut anyway in hopes that this would aid with latching better. She did begin latching again, however it still wasn’t great and she was still struggling to be able to latch onto both breasts This little bit of breastfeeding was short lived, because as luck would have it, both mum and baby simultaneously developed thrush and feeding became too uncomfortable.
It was at this point that mum made a decision to take a break from breastfeeding. She was pumping 2-3 times a day if she could manage it, but there wasn't a consistent feeding plan in place, so the majority of Baby A's intake was now formula.
Meeting Baby A
It was at about 9 weeks that I had the pleasure of meeting both of these gorgeous souls when they came to see me for a Mama & Baby Craniosacral Session. The booking-in form noted baby had reflux, gas, and constipation, and some issues with latching, particularly on one breast, but the moment they walked through my door I could see the strong torticollis head tilt that's characteristic of the sternocleidomastoid muscle being pulled tight on one side of the neck, and I knew exactly the factors at play.
I started the session focusing on Baby A, and almost immediately her body started to relax into the treatment, and her sternocleidomastoid muscle began to open up. We discussed what the breastfeeding journey had been like up to that point and she explained that they weren't currently breastfeeding and hadn't breastfed for a little over a week due to thrush and difficulties with latching, but she wanted to. Through dialogue we decided that the next craniosacral session may be best combined with a feeding consultation to see if we could support them both back to the original breastfeeding goal.
Getting Feeding Back on Track
At our next meeting a week later Baby A was already doing so much better latching. Her mother said that almost immediately after our first session her head started moving much more freely and her body seemed noticeably straighter. I did some more craniosacral work, again focusing on the upper back and neck, but I was still unable to get to certain areas in her neck, specifically the suboccipital area which was responsible for the tilting of the neck and extension of the tongue. The tissues in this area were still holding tight, but I had faith that those would continue to relax over the week and if I came back again we'd be able to access those deeper muscles and shift that last bit of restriction out.
As a feeding plan we explored breastfeeding more regularly and expressing once in the night. She continued topping up, with a little reduction in the volume, however her supply came in so quickly with Baby A feeding better, that the formula was halved by the end of the next week.
After this second session, Mum braved her first breastfeed in public and began to regain her confidence around breastfeeding again.
We arranged the third and final craniosacral session to take place another week later, two weeks after our first meeting, and the turnaround was phenomenal. I was able to access the muscles at the base of the skull, the suboccipital area, and Baby A was immediately able to get full extension of her neck back so that she could get a deep latch.
I noted that in the two weeks of seeing her, her body had straightened up and her skull shape, which was previously very elongated due to the muscle tension pulling on the occipital bone, had begun to round out. She was now mainly at the breast, bar the couple of formula bottles that Mum wanted to keep in her feeding relationship, and there hadn't been any feeds where Baby A couldn't latch.
Below are some images from my last visit showing off her ability to look straight on at my camera. And another image showing her latching at her mother's breast with great form, crown in line with coccyx and taking in a beautifully efficient feed.
If you feel like your baby may benefit from some craniosacral therapy, you can book an appointment, or a package of appointments at this link.
If you would be interested in participating in a case study for a discounted treatment rate, get in touch and I'd be happy to discuss this with you in more detail.