If you’ve been around for a while, you know we talk about the not-so-obvious perks to being under regular chiropractic care. One not-so-obvious benefits of getting adjusted during your pregnancy might have to do with your functioning during the postpartum period. As mamas return for their first examination after having their sweet baby, we ask them a series of questions in regard to how their birth went, what were baby’s stats, and postpartum events such as when their milk came in, when they moved their bowels after delivering and if there are any issues with nursing and lactation. Specifically, one question we ask is “when did your milk come in”, and here’s the reasoning behind it:
As a naturally curious practice, especially when it comes to chiropractic care, we wondered if consistent care during your pregnancy has any long-term effect on your neurological functioning. Milk production and the initiation of lactation is largely controlled by a cascade of several events: postpartum hormones, the delivery of the placenta, and contact with your baby either skin to skin or physically latching baby on. Ultimately, with the nervous system being the director of the show. What’s the bodily system that chiropractors directly work with besides the skeletal system? The nervous system!
According to Kellymom.com (the end all be all for all things evidence-based breastfeeding), your milk transitions from colostrum to milk anywhere from 2-5 days. Certain events like undergoing a cesarean section, experiencing a traumatic birth, or receiving IV fluids during labor; syndromes that affect your hormones such as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, thyroid disease, or diabetes; breast-related issues like insufficient glandular tissue or having undergone a breast reduction all can contribute to the delay in the onset of milk production.
Therefore, we asked our patients “how many days elapsed before your milk come in?” and you may be surprised at the response. The majority of our Mama’s responded with 2, 2 days after delivery their milk transitioned from colostrum to milk. Which is remarkable. Why? Because the majority of our mamas are on the lower end of the average mentioned by Kellymom.com.
Now, I’m not saying that getting adjusted during your pregnancy is a sure-fire way to ensure you have a successful nursing relationship with your new baby. Babies aren’t born having read the “So You’re A Nursling: Guide to Successful Breastfeeding” manual and know just what to do when they see your nipple for the first time. But what I am saying is that getting adjusted long-term before you do have a nursling, chances are your physiology will be better off to be successful at what it does best.
That goes without saying, that if there IS an issue with the nursing relationship, such as latching issues, a mama experiencing chapped or cracked nipples, fussy baby while at the breast, structural issues like a lip or tongue tie, that she’s left without resources. Pediatric chiropractors are trained to properly assess and correct these issues. Often mom’s see improvement within 2 weeks, or 3-5 visits, after initiating care for their newborn.
From personal experience, my first son’s birth resulted in a cesarean section and my milk came in on day five. FIVE. I had a very upset baby and as his mama, I was also very upset. Nevertheless, I was adamant in establishing a successful nursing relationship and my milk came in full force and he was able to gain back all the weight he lost within a very small amount of time. My second birth was a Home Birth After Cesarean and my milk was in within 12 hours after birth, despite my long and exhausting labor. What was the difference between the two besides the method of birth? I was not regularly adjusted during my first pregnancy, but I was during my second. I know my first son was not in the best possible position for birth and I know for a fact that my second son was. Let me be the first to tell you, it all matters.
When your body is functioning at physiologically normal and your pelvis is in alignment, baby has the ability to move where there is room that is physiologically normal (i.e. the best possible position for birthing). We find that mamas who are adjusted during pregnancy, experience shorter more comfortable births. Therefore, if the birth and ultimately minimization of interventions (IV, cesarean, etc.) are accounted for, then the initiation of lactation should not be one of your worries as becoming a new mama. And if you do happen to experience any nursing issues in your motherhood journey, you know who to call.