Are you struggling to get your newborn to feed well? This article about Breastfeeding Difficulties can help guide you with a few signs of feeding issues to look out for-

Young mother with her baby relaxing on bed

  • If baby feeds better on one side than the other, observe your baby over a few days when they’re at rest & see whether they’re happy to turn their head both ways. If it’s clearly easier for them to go one way more than the other this can be indicative of neck or shoulder tightness.
  • Babies with this will then struggle to latch on the uncomfortable side because of their limited neck rotation. This may be due to a residual strain in the neck following labour & delivery.
  • If baby fusses & fidgets when feeding, this can be indicative of discomfort in the back of the head or top of the neck. It may also be a sign of neck or shoulder tightness. You can avoid making it worse for baby by not resting their head on anything hard while feeding – such as the bony part of your forearm
  • If baby has a weak suck this can be due to several issues, including:
    • Unresolved moulding problems of the head following birth, which can leave residual stresses through the face & palate.
    • A difficult delivery – such as your baby being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their neck or throat, or presenting with their head tipped back, such as in a forehead or brow presentation.
    • Prolonged natural labour, which causes a lot of compressive forces to be absorbed by the middle of the baby’s head as it passes through the birth canal. This area is near to where the nerve, which supplies the tongue, exits the skull- just behind the ear.
    • Flattening of the back of the skull which can impact nerves supplying muscles of the tongue

The weak suck can occur when the nerve is irritated and this then alters how the muscles of the tongue function so baby will tire quicker & can struggle to make & maintain a good latch.

Osteopathy may be able to help with these feeding issues by using very gentle techniques to ease muscle tightness & help relieve residual moulding of the bones of the cranium.

  • Tongue TieLook to see if your baby has any restriction of the under side of the tongue or with the upper lip. If in doubt it is advisable to check with your paediatrician, maternal child health nurse or a lactation consultant. Many tongue-ties can be easily aided with a minor intervention

If you think any of these issues may be affecting your baby please feel free to contact us on 02 9453 3046.

If you think your milk supply isn’t too good – try this recipe for lactation cookies.

Lactation Bikkies by The Milk Tree

1 cup SR wholemeal flour (or ¼ cup SR and 1/3 cup coconut flour)

½ cup rolled oats (not instant)

¼ cup ground flaxseed meal

½ cup coconut sugar

1 tsp of Himalayan salt

100g butter

1 tbsp organic unrefined coconut oil

1 egg

3-4 tbsp water (adjust to suit how moist you like them)

2tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds (black/white/both)

1 big tbsp brewers yeast (from health food shop)

Optional addition of ½ cup chocolate chips


Method –

  1. Preheat oven to 160degrees C
  2. In a small bowl add the flaxseed & chia to 2 tbsp water & let sit for 10 minutes
  3. In a big bowl cream the butter & sugar. Add the egg & vanilla, mix well
  4. Add the flax mix to the big bowl & mix. Add the flours, cinnamon, coconut oil, salt & extra water. Mix well
  5. Stir in the oats, brewers yeast (& choc chips if using) using a wooden spoon. The mix should come together but not be too firm. Roll in to balls & press down lightly if wanted – they won’t spread much in the baking process
  6. Place the cookies onto a greased baking tray. Cook for approx. 10 minutes- keep watching them as they may need to change shelf part way through. Allow to cool for 10minutes & then place on a rack. Store in an airtight container once totally cool

Article by Dr Mia Rabjohn (Osteopath)

References –

Cornall, D. (2011). A review of the breastfeeding literature relevant to osteopathic practice. International Journal Of Osteopathic Medicine, 14(2), 61-66. doi:10.1016/j.ijosm.2010.12.003

Evans, J. (2013). Breastfeeding Latch – 5 Easy Physical Checks to ensure baby can latch. ION Osteopaths & Well Child Clinic. Retrieved 6 August 2015, from http://ionosteo.com/breastfeeding-latch/

Hayden, E., Lumly, A., & Jones, G. (2008). Osteopathy for children. [England]: Elizabeth C. Hayden.

The Milk Tree | Lactation Consultant | Wyndham Area,. (2015). Lactation Bikkies Recipe The Milk Tree | Lactation Consultant | Wyndham Area. Retrieved 6 August 2015, from http://www.themilktree.com.au

Thebump.com,. (2015). Top 10 Breastfeeding Problems Solved. Retrieved 6 August 2015, from http://www.thebump.com/a/top-10-breastfeeding-problems-solved