The Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics published two case studies in their July 2018 issue that documented the resolution of issues related to poor breast feeding and weight gain in two infants as a result of chiropractic care.
The study begins by noting that, “Faltering growth, previously termed failure to thrive, has been defined as a slower rate of weight gain in infants and young children than expected for age and sex.” It is common for newborns to lose weight in the first few days after birth. Large, or persistent weight loss is, however, a concern that should be addressed by parents and healthcare workers.
Organic health issues can cause faltering growth. However, this is rare and can be ruled out with an examination. Most cases of faltering growth in newborns have to do with a feeding or processing of food issues. In the past, many issues were blamed for faltering growth. However, several studies have concluded that there is no association between faltering growth and social economic factors such as parental occupation, education, maternal eating habits, or alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
The first case in this study involved a three-week-old male infant who was brought into a midwifery and chiropractic feeding clinic because of difficulty breastfeeding and slow weight gain. The baby boy’s mother was experiencing severe breast soreness due to the excessive time that feeding would require. Typically, it would take 45 minutes or longer to feed the infant with a frequency of every two hours in the day and three times during the night. At birth, the baby weighed just slightly over seven pounds. After three weeks, the baby had lost weight and weighed only 6 lbs. 4 oz.
Chiropractic care was started on this infant with parental consent. Initially, in the first four weeks of care, the infant started to show signs of improved feeding and weight gain which were followed by a slowing of both feeding and weight gain. Chiropractic care was continued, and the infant was given the addition of a high calorie formula supplementation. The mother eventually discontinued breastfeeding due to the length of time it was taking and her soreness. By 22 weeks, regular formula was being used and the baby’s eating and sleeping habits returned to normal.
The second infant in this study was an eight-week-old girl with irregular feeding habits, slow weight gain, and discomfort lying on her back. At eight weeks, the infant girl had still not returned to her original birth weight. During the day, she would feed nearly continuously, with each feeding session lasting between 40 and 90 minutes. At night, the girl would sleep through the night with only one feeding session lasting between 60 and 90 minutes.
A 4-week course of chiropractic care was initiated. During that time, the infant showed improvement that was progressive and continuous. The baby showed larger gaps between feeding and an increase in normal daytime sleeping. This allowed the mother to engage in additional normal daily activities.
In the discussion, the authors noted the importance of trying to continue breast feeding in cases of faltering growth, “If concerns present about faltering growth in an infant, a feeding assessment should be performed. Every effort should be made to continue breastfeeding for the health of the infant and mother.” They also noted the importance chiropractic played in such cases by stating, “Chiropractic care was key to improve the baby’s use of muscles of mastication and to allow for comfort in supine sleep.”