Babies and mothers are naturally designed for breastfeeding; however even natural processes can get interrupted. I can help you and your baby establish breastfeeding and turn troubled or painful feeds into easy feeds, drawing on gentle craniosacral therapy and lactation counseling.

Pain-free breastfeeding

By three weeks of nursing baby M, I was in excruciating pain and had nipple damage. I began to be afraid that we wouldn’t be able to nurse, even though I had breastfed my son for 12 months. M had been born a little early and was very small, so I thought her mouth might be too small to open up well for a big latch.

We turned this around with a combination of craniosacral therapy, pumping and my husband doing night feedings to get me the rest I needed.

Craniosacral therapy with Catherine has opened up M’s very tight latch on the first session, and got us well on our way with the second session. I appreciated her coming to our home where M and I are most comfortable and I do the home program that she gave us often. I’ve imprinted the color anatomy pictures — these make it clear how craniosacral therapy works and how it could make a difference. I’m glad that you taught me all the massage, because now I understand that everything is malleable and how I continue to can help her.  – mama K

Normal breastfeeding

Your baby is most easily able to start breastfeeding when he has had a natural, vaginal birth, an unmedicated labor, and has been skin to skin continuously with you.

Place your newly born child on your chest to give her access to the breast. Most newborns are able to latch on and start nursing within 30 minutes to 2 hours here. Continuous, on-demand breastfeeding for the first 5 days and the first weeks are essential to establishing good milk supply for your growing baby.

It is also normal for many babies and mothers face many challenges in breastfeeding –  normal, but not necessary. You can get help for painful or ineffective feeding.

Complications from birth

Birth entails strong compression forces on your baby’s head, neck and spine. This is true whether your baby went through vaginal birth or a c-section delivery. While this is a natural aspect of birth, and your baby is extraordinarily resilient, some babies’ cranial bones are displaced enough to need help. If your baby has gone through very prolonged or intense birth, forceps, vacuum or some c-sections, displaced cranial bones may interfere with her ability to latch, suck or swallow.  Birth trauma may also impede breastfeeding.

Poor latch, suck & swallow

Good latch, suck and swallow reflexes are each necessary for successful breastfeeding. A common problem of nursing is poor latch, when your baby’s mouth is not opened wide or his jaw is tight. Except for very premature babies, your newborn’s mouth is big enough to open for a good latch; yet his jaw may be too tight, creating a painful latch. Poor latch often results in poor suck; and then your baby gets little nourishment or requires much effort to nurse. Restrictions around cranial nerves for latch, suck or swallow can impair your baby’s ability to nurse at all, or require so much work that he gets exhausted trying to feed.

Signs of poor latch are nipple pain that doesn’t ease up after the first few minutes of nursing, or if your baby pops off the breast or falls asleep on the breast without seeming to take in much milk. If your nursing sessions are very long and frequent, while baby has poor weight gain after the first week, this indicates poor milk supply that may be due to latch and suck problems.

One sided nursing

Some babies seem to have a preference to nurse on one side. Mothers often think that one breast has more milk in it. Usually uneven milk production is caused by uneven sucking by your baby. More likely, your baby has some restrictions around his cranial bones and nerves on one side, yet has few restrictions on his other side. Unevenness of a baby’s head is a natural consequence of normal, asymmetrical positioning in the third trimester in utero and of navigating the snug birth canal, especially if your uterus or pelvis is tilted.


Inconsolable crying is a call for help. If you have tried everything, then your baby may be calling for another approach. He may have a restriction on a cranial nerve causing discomfort or interfering with digestion. I can provide gentle, effective help to give your baby her own happy disposition.

Getting the best start with breastfeeding

As a lactation counselor I can provide a range of breastfeeding support services to address problems of nursing and colic. I can advise you while providing craniosacral therapy to your baby. You and your baby continue to be entwined in the early breastfeeding months, and can benefit from having joint sessions to fully resolve misalignment problems.

Milk supply: Myths of inadequacy

Many mothers feel that they don’t really have enough milk for their baby. Mother’s bodies are designed to grow babies, in utero and in breastfeeding. Often women feel inadequate because they are comparing their supply to an 8 ounce bottle. However, your baby’s stomach is very small at the beginning, about as big as a marble. The pearl sized drops of colostrum that you produce is the most perfect food for your newborn. Ten days later, when your baby’s stomach is as big as a ping pong ball, you will produce as much as her baby needs when breastfeeding exclusively. You can trust your own body’s ability to feed your baby.
Very, very rarely is supplementing with formula helpful. Usually giving a baby formula will impair milk production, especially in the first 5 days. Yet for a few mothers and babies, some supplementation or feeding is helpful and necessary. Instead of formula, you can consider using a milk bank.

Somatic therapies and education

With craniosacral therapy I can gently coax your baby’s bones to shift into easy alignment for effective nursing. I can help your baby and you process a difficult birth with somatic therapies, including myofascial release, reflex integration and Hakomi emotional support. The gentle touch of craniosacral therapy is perfectly suited for helping babies from the very first day, whether as a well baby check or to address a problem for your child. Usually we can resolve nursing problems in one to five sessions. I offer home visits for newborns in the Twin Cities metro area. With articles you can help your baby with body-mind integration from the beginning.

For more information, look at Kellymom or call me for a session for in-person, hands-on help.

What to expect in a session for your baby.



Easy at first…

In late June we welcomed our son into the world, a completely peaceful, natural birth. We were both instantly in love and we marveled at him as he readily nursed at my breast just moments after he was born. He was an easy baby from the start, barely fussing, only when he needed something. He slept three or four hours at a time most nights, nursing easily and regularly.

 Day 8:  starving and mad
Then, when he was eight days old, everything changed; his latch disintegrated, getting worse and worse with every passing day. By day ten, I was at my wit’s end. It was taking him a minimum of fifteen minutes to latch so that he could even start nursing. Sometimes he took up to an hour or more! He had fits at the breast, crying, punching, and scratching my breasts and already sore nipples. He would swallow air during his tantrums and spit up all the milk we fought so hard to get down him. He would be starving and mad. I would be exhausted and mad. I visited a lactation consultant, read books, watched online tutorials on breastfeeding, anything to help us get the latch down. Finally, I called our doula. She referred us to a cranial-sacral therapist. I had no idea what that was, but I was desperate.

We called that night and got an appointment for the next day. Then I got a vague idea of what “cranial-sacral therapy” was by doing a quick internet search. Still confused but willing to try just about anything, we went to Catherine’s house the next day.  — continued

Essential wellness for mother and baby

Body-mind integration from the beginning

Feather light touches

When we arrived, Thor was hungry. I tried to feed him. He rioted, as he had been doing for days. Catherine went straight to work. As she gently worked his hips and scalp with feather light touches, she explained that the bones in the skull and the small openings between them can sometimes adversely affect the nerves that control a baby’s ability to suck, swallow, and latch. Honestly, it didn’t look like much was happening. Sometimes Thor would be calm, sometimes he would whimper as she gently stroked his head. By the end of the session, I tried to nurse Thor again. Much to my and my husband’s amazement, Thor latched on instantly and began nursing!

 Back to our happy, easy baby
I was in awe but wondered if it was just a fluke. Either way, I was thankful to have had it gone so well, if only for one time. When we got home, Thor cried for food. I pulled out my breast and held my breath. Again, he latched on instantly and began sucking. I was so excited! I called my mother, I called my sister. I texted the doula. My baby was nursing!

Thor continued to improve and though he still had some issues after that first session, it never took him an hour to latch again. It was at most fifteen or twenty minutes, most times less than five. I was ecstatic! We went back for two more sessions to fine tune things. He continued to make strides with every visit. After the third session, he was nursing like a normal baby. We are so happy to have our son back to the happy, easy baby that we knew from birth.       – Elaine


Recovery from mastitis

Shortly after our daughter was born, she started having trouble latching on whenever it was time to breastfeed. We were discouraged after just having the most beautiful, natural and easy birth. A few days later I got mastitis. It was awful and so painful; I could barely hold my new baby girl. My midwife encouraged me to keep on breastfeeding and recommended craniosacral therapy to help with her latch.


After seeing Catherine, we have had such a big improvement in breastfeeding. Now that I have recovered from mastitis and breastfeeding doesn’t hurt, we are finding our rhythm. Our daughter is doing really well. She is happy after eating, getting plenty and getting big. 

My husband, a chiropractor, is adjusting her regularly and is continuing to use the home program for our daughter that you gave us. He and I both know how important a properly aligned spine and cranial bones are.

Our midwife spoke so highly of Catherine and we are so thankful and appreciate the help we got from both you and her to get through this rough start.     – Gina


The baby whisperer

My friend, Kim, told me about Catherine and craniosacral therapy because our baby was just frantic at the beginning of a nursing. She was not able to be in new situations or with new people, when she would look like a deer in the headlights.

I can’t thank you enough for all you taught us and helped Savannah with. She slept for five hours straight last night, something she has NEVER done before! Even today when I had to leave her with a babysitter (first time), she was calm and not hyper-alert.  I feel tremendous relief after your visit.

Bright eyes sml

When we visited our family in the Dakotas over the holidays, it was such a joy that she could be held by other family members – more rest for me, as well!

After our first visit, I told Kim, the baby whisperer is coming.  Every baby needs this work done. – Kathleen


Desperate for options

The crazy business of new motherhood has made these past 15 months fly by!

I want to thank you for all your help and support in those early weeks, when Freya and I were having latching issues. I went into it not knowing at all what to expect from craniosacral therapy, nor if I even “believed” in it. But I was desperate for options, and for more help than I was getting from traditional lactation consultant visits.

pink chair

I still don’t know if it it was “luck”, or maybe it really made all difference! But even after those two visits we had, Freya’s latch began improving. We began incorporating more nursing with each day, and replacing bottle feedings of pumped milk with nursing sessions.
She is now 15 months, and we are beginning the wind down of our beautiful nursing relationship. Most days we are nursing only once, maybe twice… Bittersweet!   – Nicole

15 months


Triplet tales: It took a village

Slow beginning…..
We were committed to breastfeeding, and we needed everyone’s help to make it possible. Breastfeeding was affected by so many variables. Each baby had his/her own little challenges in the beginning. I began bringing them to breast from the first day, but they were born early, so the babies weren’t quite ready to fully feed at birth.

Cat w triplet A

All three babies were snuggled tightly together in utero. Babies P and A were heads down, while baby W was head up. I began having contractions in the month coming up to their birth. The month of prelabor along with their individual positions in the last two months shaped each head and ability to latch differently. Their grandma Gigi urged us to get craniosacral therapy to help with the displacement of their cranial bones evident for each of their newborn heads, especially to help with breastfeeding and calmness.  …continued


Full on triplet feeding

Our babies also had variations in maturity and temperament. Baby P was the largest and first to find an easy breastfeeding rhythm. Initially the boys tired quickly at the breast. Craniosacral therapy helped their bones line up better, and to open their latch for easier, more efficient feeds. All the babies relaxed deeply during session and were calmer overall.

Stroller snooze sml

We were able to gradually increase the length of breastfeeding sessions and arrive at full breastfeeding for all of them. Although it took three months before all three babies were reliably breastfeeding, we all felt it was well worth giving continuously to make it eventually happen. The village came through to help do laundry, cook food, change diapers and to cuddle, so I was able to focus on being with my babies, breastfeeding and keeping myself as well fed and rested as possible. – mama J