Tag Archives: Babies

Babies

 Chiropractic for Babies? Yes!

 

Did you know that 95% of newborns have misalignments in their cranial bones, atlas, and/or cervical vertebrae due to the stress of birth? Even the most gentle of births can result in subluxations. The alignment of the spine sets the foundation for building a healthy immune system and for normal childhood development. Chiropractic adjustments also help with many childhood conditions and concerns! Read more about why children get adjusted!

The primary techniques I’ve chosen to use in my practice are non-force and very low-force – they are safe for all ages, including newborns. The pressure applied to a newborn is approximately the pressure it would take to indent a soft pillow with a finger. If you are choosing a chiropractor in your area to treat your children, I recommend you call and confirm their training or certification with the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association.

Chiropractic Care for Newborns and Children

 

 

Children develop 65% of their nervous system within the first year of life and 80% by the time they are two years old.

A very common question I receive fairly often is “Can chiropractic help my child with this?” My response is typically yes – chiropractic care can likely help with a number of childhood concerns. More and more parents are asking about chiropractic care for their children, as they hear anecdotal stories and read research of how chiropractic care helps with the symptoms of colic, reflux, allergies, ear infections, etc.  As I talk with parents about how adjustments help common concerns, many parents are still surprised to hear the many benefits of chiropractic care for newborns and wellness care for children. I’ve found that a quick explanation of how chiropractic works helps families understand why regular adjustments are important for developing children and for taking a wellness approach to the family’s health.

Chiropractors are doctors that work to optimize the health and function of the nervous system.  They achieve this by performing an adjustment to restore motion and balance to the spine, which frees the nervous system from interference.  “Interference” is what we call it when nerves restricted or otherwise negatively affected by misalignment or subluxation – this disrupts the signal the body receives and sends via those nerves. When the nervous system is free of interference then many of the symptoms of disease dissipate because the body is able to heal itself and function properly.  The adjustment delivered by the chiropractor can come in many forms. There are many techniques that can be utilized to restore optimal health to the nervous system.  Many chiropractors will cater to each patient in order to give them the type of adjustment that will best suit them and help achieve optimal function. This is true in the case of adjusting children, infants and newborns.  The same force that a chiropractor may utilize to adjust an adult patient is not the same force they will use to adjust your newborn baby.  Chiropractors trained through the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) have been trained on how to properly and safely adjust a newborn, infant and older child. Chiropractors normally will use just the tip of their finger to place light pressure on the vertebrae of a newborn (typically as little pressure as you can place on your eye comfortably). These 6-8 ounces of pressure is enough to realign an infant’s spine and restore optimal nervous system health. There is never any rotating or twisting of the baby’s neck or back. It is a very gentle and safe process.  There have been studies performed that have proven the safety of chiropractic care for children. The most recent published study stated the following in the discussion:

“Of 1161 clinical cases presenting the gamut of both non-musculoskeletal and musculoskeletal complaints, less than one percent reported minor adverse events spanning 10, 249 office visits. Sixty-six percent reported improvements in their presenting complaints while another 8% reported improvements unrelated to their presenting complaints.”1

But why would a newborn need chiropractic care? Well, just like any other person, newborns and children experience a variety of stress on their bodies and nervous system. Initially, babies can experience physical stress in utero from obtaining a less than optimal position (transverse, breech, asynclitic, ect.).  They also experience the pressure and force of contractions and the trauma of the birth process. Many babies have their head pulled during a Cesarean section or a vacuum or forceps extraction. But even a completely natural birth with no interventions is a very stressful event for an infant with an immature nervous system. One study by G. Gutmann stated that 80 % of newborns, out of one thousand examined, had nervous system dysfunction. Another by V. Fryman, which examined 1,250 five-day-old babies, showed that 95% had misalignments in their neck. Children develop 65% of their nervous system within the first year of life and 80% by the time they are two years old. It is important to have a newborn checked by a chiropractor to ensure that their nervous system is free of interference and can develop and grow in an optimal state. When the nervous system is functioning optimally, children are able to focus and learn better, digest and absorb nutrients from food better, and they spend less time expressing illness because of a fully functioning immune system. The nervous system controls the function of every cell, tissue and organ in the body. Therefore, if a child has interference that is not detected and corrected by a chiropractor, they may develop symptoms later in childhood such as colic, reflux, allergies, ear infections, fussiness during tummy time, breastfeeding difficulties, sleeping difficulties, and many others.

As children grow and get older it is a good idea to have them checked at milestones or after any experienced trauma or accident.  When a baby learns to sit up, crawl and walk, there are different stresses place on the spine, which could lead interference to develop in the nervous system.  Many children have falls on the playground or are in the car during a motor vehicle accident and should be checked to make sure that they are functioning properly and their nervous system is working optimally. Children today are eating a lot more processed foods that lack nutrition. This exposure to the different chemicals in their food can lead to imbalance in the body and interference in the nervous system. Chiropractors can help remove the imbalance in the body and also guide parents to help them make healthier decisions for their children.  Many Chiropractors who work with children and families are more holistically inclined and can help improve the overall health of the family children. Families that are visiting the chiropractor regularly benefit from his or her expertise in wellness – chiropractors take numerous courses in nutrition and healthy living.

The immediate result of chiropractic is to remove interference to the nervous system through use of the chiropractic adjustment and allow the body to function better, but the long-term effects and goal is to help adults, children and families live healthier, happier lives.

 

 

1)    Alcantara, Joel BSc, DC, Kunz, Derek  BS Ohm, Jeanne, DC. (2009, September). The Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic: A Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice-Based Research Network Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.http://www.explorejournal.com/article/S1550-8307(09)00207-9/fulltext

2)    Siddle, Belinda D.C. (2008, June). Chiropractic Care for Children. Pathways to Family Wellnesshttp://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/component/option,com_crossjoomlaarticlemanager/Itemid,271/aid,1461/view,crossjoomlaarticlemanager/

3)    (2009, Winter). Adjusting to a New Life. Pathways to Family Wellness.http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/component/option,com_crossjoomlaarticlemanager/Itemid,164/aid,1824/view,crossjoomlaarticlemanager/

 

*While most chiropractors are taught how to adjust children in the standard doctorate program, the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association offers an extensive diplomate training and certification program. To ensure that your choice of chiropractor is optimally prepared to adjust each member of your family, ask if they are ICPA trained or certified, or check out icpa4kids.org’s directory.

International Babywearing Week – Why Your Chiropractor Loves Babywearing

 

Happy International Babywearing Week! Babywearing is defined as simply wearing baby with some sort of carrier, be it a buckled soft structured carrier, sling, or simple piece of cloth. As a chiropractor and father, babywearing is something I am passionate about. Why are so many chiropractors outspoken proponents of babywearing? The overarching reasons are twofold. One, today’s U.S. culture has mothers and fathers carrying their infants and young babies in car seats, which, when done for an extended period, can have serious consequences for infant development. Two, babywearing has a large number of positive benefits, especially for the physical, social, emotional, and neurological development of the infant. There have been many great articles written on these two topics – both the negative effects of portable car seat overuse, and the positive effects of babywearing. Below I’ve provided links to a few articles on these topics.

  • ICPA – Benefits of Baby Carrying: This article primarily discusses physical benefits for the infant, such as general physical development, spine development, prevention of ear infections and respiratory issues, improved balance, increased neurological stimulation, better physiological regulation, and decreased fussiness/crying. http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/
    The-Outer-Womb/the-benefits-of-baby-carrying.html
  • ICPA – Car Seats are for Cars: This article discusses problems arising with routine overuse of infant car seats, and how babywearing is a safer, healthier alternative.  Portable infant car seat use has contributed to an increase in plagiocephaly, or “flat head syndrome.” Extended use of portable car seats also places unhealthy strain on the infant due to poor positioning, and strains the adult carrying it as well. Infants who are left in the car seats beyond the car ride also receive less touch and interaction, which affects development. http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/The-Outer-Womb/car-seats-are-for-cars.html
  • Andrew Dodge, DC – Babywearing vs Car Seat Carrying:This article, written by my twin brother who is also a DC, discusses the physical and neurological effects of car seat carrying, contrasted with babywearing being ideal for baby’s physical, neurological, and emotional development.  https://onyababy.com/2012/06/benefits-of-babywearing-vs-carseat-carrying/
  • Sears – Benefits of Babywearing: Dr. Sears discusses benefits of babywearing in the context of attachment parenting, a parenting style he has spread which encourages the natural, intuitive, and biological bonding of parents and infants. https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/fussy-baby/baby-wearing/benefits-babywearing

This week Claire and I will share a few more blog posts on babywearing and our favorite way to wear our children. This week is a celebration of keeping your children close via babywearing, however you choose to do it. If our posts bring up any questions for you, don’t hesitate to ask me. Happy International Babywearing Week!

– Dr. Dodge, DC

The Doc’s Wife – My Babywearing Journey

Happy Babywearing Week, Holistic Living readers and Dodge Family Chiropractic family! This is a happy week for me, indeed, because I absolutely LOVE babywearing. I just want to share a little with you as to how babywearing became such a big part of our lives!

My babywearing journey began with my experiences in college – I majored in Psychology and Education at William and Mary, and I took a number of child psychology and development classes. In many of these classes, theories of attachment were discussed – how infants and parents bond and interact, and how those attachments affect all areas of development, especially psychological and emotional development. What I learned made sense – babies cry because they have needs, and these needs are met by the caregiver. I liked the idea that babies that were held “all the time” and didn’t “cry it out” weren’t being spoiled, they were simply being babies, and their parents were simply being responsive. These concepts made so much sense to me that I remembered them when Daniel and I began to dream of a family. I eagerly looked up “attachment parenting” and found books by Dr. Sears and other professionals. The idea of “babywearing” came up then, as one of the tenets of attachment parenting.

The more I read about babywearing, the more it made complete sense. There was no question in my mind – I was going to be a babywearer! The physical, emotional, and neurological benefits of babywearing were exciting and encouraging – wear your baby and they will be happy and healthy! When we were expecting our son in 2010, my husband was in the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) diplomate program. In this program, chiropractors learn how to meet the needs of expecting mothers and growing children.  With all of the well-documented research out there for babywearing and the infant’s development, Dr. Dodge (aka Daddy) was excited as well. He wasn’t too sure about the stretchy wrap I had picked out, so we also registered for a soft structured buckle carrier. One Moby and one Ergo in tow, and we were ready for that baby! After our son was born, I started wrapping him in the Moby wrap very frequently. Dr. Dodge and I agreed to only use the car seat in the car, so that meant more babywearing and holding. I wrapped Charlie up to do dishes, make dinner, and other household chores. I wrapped him up for naps, especially when he was very little. I wore him while we went on walks, I wore him at the grocery store and in the mall, I wrapped him up at church. We went to Disney World as a family when he was four months old, and I am pretty sure my in-laws and sister-in-law thought we were nuts for basically never putting him down! Dr. Dodge was always eager to have his turn wearing Charlie too, and especially enjoyed using the Ergo when Charlie was a bit bigger. Charlie loved (and still loves) to be worn. When awake, it would calm him down and entertain him. Often, with some bouncing and back-patting, he’d fall asleep while being worn and take lovely two+ hour naps (where did those go, little son?!). It’s hard to explain, I just knew how much he loved it. As he got bigger, the stretchy wrap became uncomfortable and I switched over to the Ergo with Dr. Dodge.  We continued to love babywearing, all three of us! When we discovered we were expecting our second sweet little one, I wasn’t ready to give up babywearing, but the design of the Ergo wasn’t going to work anymore. A phenomenal leader of the Fort Worth Babywearers taught me how to wrap with a woven wrap (similar to the Moby wrap, but not stretchy and therefore safe and supportive for heavier babies). I learned a back carry that ROCKED MY WORLD. I was hippy dippy crazy love HOOKED on wrapping! He could see over my shoulders, he (at 20+ pounds) felt much lighter, and there was less wiggling and more security. We continued to “wrap up,” as he called it, until I was about 34 weeks pregnant and it was just no longer a smart thing to do. Now, as you can imagine, I am still hippy dippy crazy love addicted to babywearing Charlotte and Charlie in one of our two woven wraps.  I have a favorite front carry for her and sometimes put her on my back as well. We are probably wrapped up at least six hours a day. Wearing bitty Charlotte allows me to take care of both of my children the way I want to – I can give Charlie attention, I can hold him, read to him, play with him…I can even chase him around while nursing Charlotte in the wrap, hands-free! There are so many more reasons babywearing has helped me get through these early weeks with a new addition, but you get the point. It makes my life easier, she is much happier being held than anything else, and Charlie likes that I can still give him both of my arms when he wants them. Babywearing is more than a “parenting choice” for us – it is a lifestyle, and it makes our lives easier and more enjoyable.

Now, as much as I love babywearing and wrapping, I am also a bit pushy an advocate for other mamas to learn to love babywearing too! I am still sorting out life as a new mom of two, but as I get the hang of it and Charlotte becomes more independent, I look forward to teaching free wrapping classes in Coppell! So many women approach us and ask about our wraps and how they work, or ask for me to teach them how to do it! Learning how to wrap definitely takes a little practice and is best done with direct, personal instruction. Once you get the hang of it, though, it is completely awesome. So get ready, DFW families – we’ll have you wrapping soon! If you want to learn how to wrap before I start teaching group classes at DFC, just give us a call and I’d be happy to set up a wrapping play date!

 

– The Doc’s Wife, Claire