The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of chiropractic care on a two-week-old male infant with breastfeeding difficulties and plagiocephaly (abnormal flat head). Breastfeeding has many benefits such as fewer diarrheal illnesses, increasing mother-infant bonding, and decreasing infant morbidity and hospitalization rates. Despite these benefits, there can be difficulties with breastfeeding for both mothers and infants.
Ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) causes the infant to be unable to suckle the breast. The prevalence of tongue-tie in newborn infants is 0.3-12%. The medical solution for tongue-tie is tongue-tie division. For the mother, breastfeeding difficulties can cause long feedings or damaged nipples. Lastly, plagiocephaly has been diagnosed in 10% of infants. The medical solution for plagiocephaly is utilizing skull molding helmets.
In the current study, a two-week-old male infant came in for chiropractic care with difficulties latching to breastfeed. The patient’s mother said this was due to being tongue-tied since birth. He had no previous medical care nor took medication for the problem. No other symptoms were present other than the patient being unable to latch to breastfeed. During the initial chiropractic visit, the doctor of chiropractic examined the patient’s head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat, with tongue-tie as the only abnormality. After examining the patient’s spine, the doctor of chiropractic found misalignments behind his head and middle/lower back.
The patient received chiropractic care using manual digital pressure to the misalignments behind his head and middle/lower back. He was seen two times a month. The doctor of chiropractic provided the patient’s parents with at-home recommendations such as making sure he had tummy time and utilized cross crawl movement patterns daily. The patient responded well to care after his first few adjustments with noticeable latching improvements. Over four months (12 visits), he received similar chiropractic care. At the 3rd visit, the patient’s frenulum had decreased in size. At the 10th visit, his frenulum was no longer visible which allowed the patient’s tongue to move in all directions with no problems. He did not have trouble latching anymore.
At the tenth visit, the patient’s mother addressed her concerns for his misshapen head. The doctor of chiropractic utilized manual cranial work with digital pressure. The doctor of chiropractic also encouraged the patient’s mother to consult with a pediatric neurologist. When the patient came back for a follow-up visit, his mother said the neurologist had six weeks to choose whether or not to fit the patient with a cranial helmet for his plagiocephaly (abnormal flat head). His care plan was increased to two times a week over the following six weeks. The patient received cranial care from the doctor of chiropractic as described previously over six weeks which consisted of twelve visits. At the 6th visit, his skull was symmetrical but had a frontal slope.
At the 10th visit, the downward slope had disappeared. The patient went to see the neurologist to be measured for the cranial helmet and the measurements came back normal, therefore, the cranial helmet was no longer necessary. Over the next three months (7 visits) he continued receiving cranial care from the doctor of chiropractic. Following nine months of care, he continued to receive chiropractic for wellness.
Download a PDF copy here.
MLA Citation: Ferranti, Melissa, Alcantara, Joel, & Adkins, Michelle. “Resolution of Breastfeeding Difficulties and Plagiocephaly in an Infant Undergoing Chiropractic Care.” Journal of Pediatric, Maternal, & Family Health. 2016.2 (2016): 42-45.