Dr Bryan Nichols, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT
I have many jobs. I am a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy and an Orthopaedic specialist. In the past I have been a clinical director at an outpatient clinic, and treated patients in both outpatient home care settings. I also teach in Jefferson University’s Physical therapy Program where i have the honor of mentoring the next generation of physical therapists. But, my most important job is being a father to my child.
When my son River was born, and I added my most proud job title of Dad, little did I know i would be moved to take a new and exciting step in my career. This picture sums up the utter love and joy that becoming parents brought to us. It doesn’t show, however, the incredible struggle River, my partner, and I had in his early life with feeding, sleeping, and finding balance in life. River was born with a tongue and lip tie. For his first two months he could not create suction or latch effectively when nursing. He struggled to sleep longer than 1 hour at a time and vomited constantly. My partner had pain, bleeding and cracked nipples, vasospasms, and was on the “triple feed train” for 6 weeks pumping, nursing, and bottle feeding round the clock. We saw so many specialists — lactation consultants, two speech therapists, physical and occupational therapists, pediactricians and more. What we soon realized was that we were very much not alone –that there were so many families struggling with tongue tie and feeding issues that needed holding, support, and a multidisciplinary care team that worked with them. We also realized that tongue tie goes way beyond the mouth — it is a full body experience that often goes along with digestive issues, muscle tightnesses and imbalances, torticolis, and much more. Further babies with tongue ties often have constriction developed in utero from their positioning that effect their ability to nurse and generally lie comfortably. A hands on, family centered, and whole body approach to care is what we found we needed to get River back on track. It was with these principles in mind that the Equilibrium Method was developed. I am happy to report that River learned how to nurse like a pro and in watching him I became inspired to help families through these same sorts of issues.