Updated: May 19, 2022
Vol. 2, #3
Daravida News - Special Edition for Parents of Babies
Welcome to Daravida's online newsletter! Our goal for this publication is to create a resource for empowering our patients, both current and future, to live their healthiest lives.
Welcome to a special edition of our newsletter: for all the parents of babies! If you arrived here from our website's infant page, here is the additional information you're seeking.
Infant Chiropractic: let's give baby a healthy first step!
Is It Safe To Adjust a Baby?
The quick answer is yes. Here is the longer answer: infant adjustments are not forceful (compared to an adult's) and they are geared specifically to your baby's age, size, and needs. You can imagine the force of a infant adjustment by thinking of the pressure you might use to gently rub your eye or test the ripeness of a fresh tomato.
Dr. Gloria has been trained to use very specific techniques for babies. This training included many hours of study and practice beyond her Doctor of Chiropractic degree program, and for the last few years she has been building experience each day with her wonderful baby patients.
Baby's Birth Experience
Even a "perfect" natural birth can be forceful enough on a baby's small body so as to be traumatic, resulting in nerve interference that can affect everything else they will do as they grow. Baby's little digestive system, ability to nurse, and milestone achievement can be affected by early trauma to their nervous system.
If extraction aids (forceps or vacuum extraction) are involved, the traumatic effect can be multiplied greatly As we discussed in our prenatal issue, chiropractic care during pregnancy can help with having a better birth experience.
It is important to know that some babies, especially newborns, may not show any clear symptoms of trauma or subluxation. They won't necessarily cry however they often appear to be uncomfortable or fussy and unable to relax. A baby's symptoms show up in different ways so it is important to have them examined by a chiropractor as soon as possible. Read on!
Colic and Constipation
Babies with colic often have a loud cry, a tense abdomen, flex their legs, and clench their fingers. The specific cause is not fully understood, which makes specific treatment difficult but not hopeless. Studies have shown that chiropractic care is a more effective treatment than anti-gas medication and reduced symptoms of colic within just two weeks.
Any parent can tell you that there is no set number of times or schedule for baby to poop. Some babies poop a lot and some don't, but there are signs that indicate constipation. Obviously, a clean diaper coupled with lots of crying or fussiness, or a tense or bloated abdomen, are signs.
Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate constipation first by removing nerve interference in baby's lumbar and sacral spinal regions. Dr. Gloria will also check baby's ileocecal valve, which is a sphincter muscle located at the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine. She will check for any blockage and also show parents a gentle massage technique for baby's abdomen.
Honestly, this topic could be a separate issue all on its own, discussing the many benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby. For this issue, we'll only discuss difficulties you may be experiencing with nursing your baby and how Dr. Gloria can help.
In cases where there is difficulty nursing a baby, it is estimated that almost 60% of the time the problem is baby's ability to nurse. Here are some of the most common reasons that baby may have difficulty latching, staying latched, getting comfy while nursing, or seeming to prefer one side over the other,
Tethered Oral Tissue, aka "Tongue-Ties"
As pictured here, baby's frenulum may tether the bottom of the tongue tip to the floor of the mouth. In less acute cases, Dr. Gloria can use gentle massage techniques and cranial chiropractic techniques to relax the tissue and help resolve the tie. Other times, minor surgery may be needed to release the tie. The term "oral tissue" is used because tongue ties are not the only form of tethering.
Sometimes, a baby's upper lip may be tied the the upper gum, which can lead to the same difficulties and can also be treated in the same ways.
The term is derived from Latin meaning "twisted neck" and refers to a muscle restriction. There are several types of torticollis but here we are focusing on congenital muscular torticollis, which is often due to birth trauma. Does your baby prefer nursing on one side over the other, or seem to have difficulty turning to one side?
Dr. Gloria will combine chiropractic adjustments with gentle muscle massage techniques to alleviate the restriction and help your baby experience a greater range of motion.
It is vitally important to protect the cranial nerves that activate your baby's suckling ability and ensure that baby's head shape is developing well. If baby's head shape is asymmetrical, it can affect their motor skills related to nursing and also affect their TMJ (temporomandibular joint) which will cause discomfort when moving their jaw.
Cranial bones actually never "fuse" if you've ever heard that term used. Cranial bones are made to move throughout your life. A baby's cranial bones have larger areas of cartilage (fontanelles) from birth to about 18 months, so it is important to have a chiropractor regularly check them to ensure proper formation until those areas close (harden). Even adults can benefit from cranial adjustments!
Ear Infections + Allergies
As you can see in the picture, a baby's eustachian tubes are more horizontal (compared to an adult's) and at times don't drain fluid easily. Chiropractic adjustments help by allowing the tubes to drain naturally. Dr. Gloria will adjust baby's neck and gently align baby's ears. Baby's immune system can then do its job and clear up the inflammation.
Helping clear up the symptoms of allergies (congestion, runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing) goes back to the basics of chiropractic care: removing nerve interference so that the nervous system can properly activate baby's body, especially their immune system.
Just as with pooping, no two babies will sleep the same amount. Some sleep a lot and some seem to never want even a nap. We won't list the signs of sleepless babies because they are pretty obvious. As we've talked about here, there is usually a specific issue that is bothering your baby and Dr. Gloria wants to help resolve that.
A gently sleeping baby looks peaceful and serene, but there is a tremendous amount of activity happening in their little body. Baby's brain development during sleep includes myelin (fat) forming around nerves, and connections strengthening between brain hemispheres. Additionally, sleep during early infancy influences critical abilities such as language, attention, and impulse control.
Baby's Milestone Achievements
Children need a healthy nervous system to be able to grow and develop. Childhood milestones include turning toward sounds, hand-eye-coordination, sitting up, crawling, and walking. Recently, the CDC moved the goal line on milestones back; for example, walking was moved from 12 months back to 15 months and crawling has been completely removed.
Crawling begins with tummy time; if your baby doesn't seem to enjoy tummy time, Dr. Gloria will examine their spine and jaw for tension. Often times that tension can prevent a baby from enjoying the position and exercise related to tummy time and crawling.
I hope this information has been helpful and comforting. I absolutely love working with babies and watching them grow and learn, and I would be honored to get to know you and your little one.
- Dr. Gloria