Excerpt: In 2021, it is generally acknowledged that the promotion of breastfeeding provides multiple benefits for the mother and child, both psychological and nutritive.
The World Health Organization promotes initiating breastfeeding immediately after birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life with breastmilk remaining a staple supplement to a whole foods diet until the child’s second birthday. Health benefits associated with the nutritional and bioactive components in human milk are many and dependent on breastfeeding duration.
Duration of breastfeeding is influenced by social and physiologic factors including, and for our purposes in this paper, pain. In a study of 1,323 mothers who stopped breastfeeding during the first month postpartum, 29.3% cited pain and 36.8% identified sore, cracked, or bleeding nipples as an important reason.
Many mothers recognize that breast milk provides the ultimate nutrition and protection for the infant; however, a significant proportion of women experience difficulties breastfeeding, some of which lead to weaning the infant.6 Lactation mastitis is one of the sources of pain for many lactating women, and, unfortunately, a frequent cause of cessation of breastfeeding.7 Efficient and rapid management of these issues are critical in ensuring success for the breastfeeding dyad.8 The purpose of this paper is to discuss mastitis and the role of the chiropractor in supporting breast health and facilitating resolution of these issues in the postpartum, lactating female. Practitioners such as chiropractors and osteopathic physicians have played an important role in the reduction of pain and restoration of proper biomechanical function as well as serving as a portal for natural health care in the diagnosis, management and collaborative referral of patients for both conventional medical and integrative therapies.9-11 As such, it is an important aspect of the chiropractic practice when working with the breastfeeding dyad to not only be educated in the differential diagnosis of breast pain or breastfeeding dysfunction as well as appropriate therapeutic management.
Author affiliations: SV: Private practice, South Windsor, Connecticut, United States; SH: Texas Chiropractic College, Pasedena, Texas, United States
Corresponding author: Sharon Vallone—email@example.com
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