It is not surprising that this is one of the most common questions that come up in our chiropractic office day in and day out. There seems to be a lack of information among the general public as to the benefits of chiropractic care outside of just relieving pain when it comes to one’s health, let alone the health of your baby. In fact, the majority of people don’t even know it is possible for a baby to get adjusted. Checking and adjusting a baby looks way different than checking and adjusting an adult. The amount of pressure and force used is similar to what it takes to feel your eyeball through a closed eyelid. (Go, ahead…try for yourself!) Although we have comfy little pillows that we love to check little ones on, babies can get checked while being held by mom or dad and most babies can sleep right through their own adjustment! Okay, enough about the how…let’s get back to the why.
When we think of the birth process, we often just think about the toll it takes on mom. And rightfully so, birthing a baby is no easy feat! However, have you ever thought about what birth is like for the baby. Even the smoothest, shortest, calmest vaginal birth still puts a lot of pressure on a baby’s cranial bones, neck and spine. Along with the natural forces and pressures of going through contractions, during both vaginal and cesarean deliveries there is often extra force used to pull on the baby’s head and neck to help assist it out into the world. Even the gentlest of pulls or tugs can have a massive impact on a baby’s developing spinal system, creating small biomechanical deficiencies that often go undetected. Unless of course, you take your baby to get checked by someone who specializes in the biomechanical and neurological integrity of the body. Hint: This is what a chiropractor is trained to do!
Here are 4 reasons why babies get checked and adjusted by chiropractors.
1. Breastfeeding Trouble: Breastfeeding is an amazing way to bond with and nourish your baby! Although it may seem like a simple way to provide essential nutrients to your little one, it often comes with its own challenges. Proper motion in your baby’s neck is essential for baby to be able to breastfeed. Often times we find a baby that will favor turning their head in just one direction, which makes it hard for baby to latch on both sides. By checking and restoring the range of motion in a baby’s neck, baby and mom can find more comfort and success while breastfeeding. The motion of your baby’s jaw as it pertains to the ability to latch and suck is also very closely related to the alignment at the very top of the neck. With proper alignment and motion in the spine, just like in adults, a baby has better coordination for functional movement.
2. Digestion and Discomfort: We all know babies cry. Sometimes they cry a lot. However, there are times when a baby’s cry is more than just communicating a basic need. If you’re a mom, you have probably experienced that gut feeling of something more going on. Increased discomfort or irritability in your baby can often be linked to their digestive system. Some moms with very fussy babies are told their baby has colic. Another baby’s irritability may be accompanied by lots of spit up and vomiting, which usually indicates reflux. When a baby is uncomfortable and fussy he or she is in a stress state, meaning they are predominately using the sympathetic portion of their nerve system, known for “fight or flight”. A chiropractor can work with specific parts of the spine, addressing any areas of tension or stress in the nerve system, which allows them to access the parasympathetic portion of their nerve system, known for “resting and digesting”. It is crucial for the body to be able to access each of these portions of the nerve system when needed. The two most common things we hear from parents after their baby gets adjusted is that they are less irritable and they sleep better.
3. Immune System Strength: I’m pretty sure any parent in the world would answer yes to wanting their baby’s immune system to be as strong as possible to fight off infections and viruses. But, how does a parent provide this for their baby? Well as we mentioned before, a chiropractor works with the spine and nerve system. This nerve system (brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves) is the main pathway for communication in the body. When there are biomechanical deficiencies or stress in a baby’s developing spinal column from the birth process or from learning to adapt to a new world, the efficiency of their communication pathways is decreased. When these areas of the spine are detected and adjusted in a gentle manner, the opposite occurs. The efficiency of their communication pathways are increased. With increased communication, your baby’s body becomes better at releasing disease-fighting or infection-fighting cells to the areas of the body that need them most.
4. Health and Prevention: Whether your baby is exhibiting a noticeable head tilt, increased irritability, recurrent fevers, or constipation, it is always easier to justify taking action when it comes to your baby’s health when you can notice the signs or symptoms going on. With an understanding of how the spine and nerve system impact your baby’s ability to communicate and function on the inside, we see more and more parents who are getting their babies checked and adjusted when they’re not expressing symptoms, or before the symptoms ever show up. Similar to a well-baby check up with your pediatrician, chiropractors can assess the integrity of the spinal column as your baby grows and develops to prevent issues from arising in the future, especially when your baby is learning to crawl, stand, balance and walk. It is easy to experience the results of chiropractic when you see them first hand, but the unseen miracles are the ones that matter most. A child who grows up without knowing the pain and discomfort of an ear infection, or a kid who can play all the sports she wants without being held back from asthma or allergies. Chiropractic is an effective and natural way to maintain the integrity of your baby’s spine and nerves so that he or she can thrive.
When you invest in your child’s health, you are investing in their future. Healthy kids grow up to be healthy adults. And healthy adults raise healthy kids.
Dr. Morgan Oberstein owns and operates Connection Cafe: A Chiropractic Center in Union City, CA. She is certified in the Webster technique by the ICPA and she specializes in providing prenatal and pediatric care.