Limit Time Spent in Car Seats
Infants, especially younger ones, spend most of their day on their backs in various baby contraptions. While car seats are important, they are not the ideal form of transport for the infant when not in the car. Infant seats cause lumbar imbalances and “restricted postural options which can impact your baby’s developing cranium and spine” (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association). The position of the baby as well as the tight fitting straps contribute to this.
When the baby is born, there is a “C” shape curvature to the spine. The “S” shape curve found in older children and adults is developed as the baby grows and begins to hold up the head, crawl, etc. Various baby holders can keep the spine in a “C” shape configuration and can inhibit the natural curves forming in the spine.
Another good reason to get babies off their backs is that it can be difficult for babies to attain the muscle strength necessary to hold their large heads up if they are not exposed to gravity very much.
In addition, babies who spend much of their times on their backs or in carriers may end up with plagiocephaly (deformed skulls, flattened on the back or side) and deformed bodies with poor muscle tone (Bonnet,1998).
Contact between parent and baby is essential for the baby’s physical, emotional, social and neurological development. Thus it is great for the baby to be held by the parent and baby wearers make it even easier. It is prudent to vary baby wearers to expose the infant to different positions. Carriers that allow the baby to be facing the parent with good leg support are ideal.
Sleeping, Feeding, Playing
Do not put infant to sleep on the belly. Instead, rotate sleeping positions onto both sides and back. For an infant with head tilt, offer head support for sitting positions, and we recommend sleeping on his/her side to counter balance the tilt.
If your child is being fed with a bottle, parents should alternate feeding sides for neurological development.
Do not use walkers or jolly jumpers in order to prevent lumbar and hip strain. Once the baby is able to support herself, these devices could be used if safety precautions are taken. It is important to note that walkers are a common cause of injuries from falls down stairs subsequently injuring the head. 97% of baby walker accidents result in neck and head injuries.
Give the child plenty of “tummy time” to strengthen cervical muscles and promote crawling strength. Crawling before walking is imperative for proper brain development. In fact, cross crawl exercises are used for older children with learning disabilities.
Exercise caution with diaper changing to avoid rolling the baby on the head and neck which can hyperextend the neck.
Use inversion to the child to allow for meningeal stretching, or stretching of the deep connective tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. Inversion to the child also allows for pumping of intercranial fluid. This helps to release tension on the brain and spinal cord that can be a source of dysfunction in the body.
Getting your baby’s spine checked by a chiropractor gives your baby a start to a healthy life. It is important to have proper nerve flow with their fast rate of development. One of the greatest traumas to the neck is the birth process. We often exhibit great caution with handling a newborn’s neck, but this is not the case during delivery where the neck is twisted and torqued to get the baby through the birth canal. Getting a baby checked by a chiropractor can significantly change the course of the child’s life.
If you have any questions or would like to take advantage of a FREE Consultation with Dr. Sara Hillesheim at Relief Plus Chiropractic, contact us today at (952) 681-2863. We love to work with spines of all ages. You will love coming to our chiropractic office in Minnetonka!