Mama, picture this–your sweet newborn has just entered the world. They are brought to your chest. You look into their eyes for the first time, and they are perfect in this moment. You see a world of possibility for this precious gift. In an instant you see their possible future as a doctor, teacher, mother, father . . . nothing but possibilities before them! We want to believe only smooth sailing is ahead for you and baby. But, many people experience some sort of rough waters. Read on for how visiting a chiropractor can help you navigate those rough waters–and how to avoid them before you even enter them.
Baby’s First Chiropractic Visit
Mom needs to plan ahead to help her body in the early stages of postpartum. There is no doubt that your body went through a lot, from preconception, to pregnancy, then to labor and delivery. Someone else was there step by step with you, though–your baby! Regardless of how smooth your labor went, birth is still the first big event of your baby’s life. We recommend having your baby checked by a pediatric chiropractor as soon as possible after birth, whether they were born vaginally or via C-section.
Our pediatric chiropractors at Essential Family Chiropractic typically find newborn babies have misalignments in their spine due to the birthing process. A misalignment within your baby’s spine skews how their growing brain is understanding the new world around them; this is called a subluxation.
The bright lights, cold air, suddenly loud sounds (in comparison to your womb’s earmuffs), and change from their constant connection with mom will take time to get used to for any baby. This transition becomes much more difficult when there is a roadblock in messages from the brain to their still developing organs, glands, and muscles! Similar to how driving through construction is a stressful process, subluxations within the spine slows down a baby’s smooth transition to functioning as their own person.
Roadblocks in Baby’s Body
These roadblocks (subluxations) may manifest in baby’s body in a few different ways.
Chronic Ear Infections
Those all-important upper neck bones can put pressure on the nerves that branch out to the eustachian tubes. This can cause muscles around the tube to become spastic, inhibiting proper drainage. In kiddos, the tubes are more horizontal and narrow. As we grow, those tubes become more vertical and widen, allowing for easier drainage. If the fluid is stuck in the middle ear and is stagnant for too long, this invites “bugs” to prosper, whether bacterial or viral. Correcting the subluxation allows the muscles to relax around the eustachian tube, leading to better drainage.
Colic is often a sign that an upper neck subluxation has put pressure on the vagus nerve. If you haven’t heard about this one, it is the biggest parasympathetic nerve in your body. Its messages branch out to most organs in your body! We find that when a baby does not have proper tone of muscles lining their digestive tract, this leads to the common symptoms of colic and reflux. Common, yet not normal function.
Your baby should be able to have a bowel movement without much strain or rigidity in their body. Listen to your instincts here, mama. Some information out there claims breastfed babies may not poop as often as those who are formula-fed. While this may be the case, if your baby is inconsistent in when they perform this important detox–or go only once per week–this is the time to see a Doctor of Chiropractic. Subluxations in the neck, mid-back, or sacrum and pelvis are where we focus with symptoms related to the bladder and bowel.
Poor or Painful Latch
Nerves in the upper neck branch out into the muscles of the jaw and neck. Misalignment from either the upper neck (specifically C1 or C2) or even in the bones of the skull can cause muscles of the jaw to tighten down or become weak, prohibiting proper latch.
Preference in Head Position or Rotation to One Side
You guessed it–the nerves of the upper neck area control the muscles of the neck. With upper cervical subluxation, muscles can tighten to become spastic on one side of the neck, creating something called “torticollis.” This is a common problem, but it certainly is not normal for a baby to have. Chiropractic care at Essential Family Chiropractic can help!
“But my child doesn’t have any of those things. Why should they receive chiropractic care?”
Benefits of a balanced nervous system (read as: specific and consistent chiropractic care) early in life go far beyond correcting the symptoms listed above. It also leads to:
- a robust immune system, leading to a calmer and healthier baby
- the ability for baby to turn their head and latch in both directions
- better sleep (for baby and mama!)
- meeting important motor milestones in order
- a more focused connection to family members, and
- priming the nervous system for a fulfilled, balanced life!
When we have a healthy nervous system balance and have been able to meet milestones in the appropriate order early in life, we see how it can have an impact for LIFE!
For example, if an infant skips cross-crawling, their brain has missed out on learning the ability to move the opposite arm and leg in sync. We may think, “My child skipped crawling and went right to walking. They are more advanced!” But truly, skipping this important milestone can impede the balance of your child in the future. Do they seem more clumsy or accident prone than your other children who did crawl? Maybe as they grow, they seem less coordinated than the other kids on the sports team? We all (even adults!) need to continue this ability of cross-crawl. It helps with core activation, balance, and even improves the cognitive function of the brain.
A Simple Milestone With Long-Term Effects
Who would have thought that such a simple milestone could have such long-term effects? Our doctors at Essential Family Chiropractic certainly have. This is precisely why they have spent many weekends doing extra training to become EXPERTS at caring for your little one, at all stages of life. What few people are aware of is that these conditions or delays, which show up early in life, are not necessarily something we merely grow out of.
We hear, “Oh, they’re just fussy, it’s just colic. Our pediatrician says they will grow out of it.” Many of our parents who seek out chiropractic care innately can feel that this is not the full story, though. While that child may stop the high-pitched crying after a few months, they may become the kiddos with constant belly-aches and a fear to poop because, “it hurts!” Down the road, they may become teenagers with acne due to hormonal imbalances, on top of their poor digestion. During hormonal changes, since their body cannot properly rid of waste, their body senses an increase in toxicity. Therefore, hormone imbalance becomes more likely.
Another infant who starts life with torticollis may become the toddler who is constantly ear-tugging due to chronic ear infections. They may grow into the school-aged child with behavioral issues. Unless this underlying imbalance is corrected through gentle and specific chiropractic adjustments, the child will often grow into a new diagnosis that is simply a progressive sign of the same neurological imbalance. Every person’s path through life looks a little different. We are here to listen and understand where you are at now, to help you and your family grow into better health for the future.
At Essential Family Chiropractic, our goal as neurologically-based chiropractors is to find the root cause of your health issues. Mama, you have poured hours into learning about pregnancy, birth, and the early stages of your child’s life. Our doctors have poured hundreds of hours into how to best care for their nervous system. You can find our office in downtown Farmington, just off of Grand River Avenue. Let our team know you found us through Detroit Mom for a gift just for you!