Why should my baby see a chiropractor?
Imagine safely and comfortably snuggled in a cozy spot and then gradually you notice some pressure and squeezes. Maybe it feels fine at first, but eventually, it becomes more intense, and it progresses to a lot of pressure. Then you are moving down and there is no water to cushion your movements. Next, there is a bright light, strange faces and many hands touching you. If you are lucky, your mother comforts you shortly after you enter this strange world. You cry, but the familiar smell and touch soothe you.
As you can imagine, being born is hard work!
Mom and baby work together to accomplish this task. And even if all things go as planned, it’s a bit of a shock. During a normal vaginal delivery, a baby’s head, neck, and spine undergo 60 to 120 lbs. of pressure. This only increases with the use of pulling, forceps, or vacuum delivery. This is an incredible amount of force for an 8 lb. baby to endure. It’s no wonder we often consider birth traumatic!
For this very reason, I recommend that new parents bring their babies for a check after birth. As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I check their nervous system for tone, functionality, and ease. I do this through a complete physical, neurological, and chiropractic examination and at each adjustment appointment.
Often, I see older infants and babies as the effects of birth start to affect their daily lives. You may notice a variety of symptoms that make adjusting to life with a new baby a bit of a struggle. Your brand-new baby has three main functions in life: to eat, poop, and sleep. If you notice that your baby is struggling with any of those three, it's time for an exam.
Entering the throughs of parenthood is certainly a whirlwind! You struggle to decipher night from day, tired from hungry, and up from down. We haven’t even begun to mention what is normal and what is not.
Here is my top list of reasons your baby should be checked by a pediatric chiropractor. These things may be very common for new babies; however, they are not normal.
Your baby is grunting and straining, turning red or crying with its time to poop.
Your baby is struggling with gas, stomach pains, upset or crying after eating, even when you get a good burp.
You dread the witching hour, purple crying, or colic.
Your baby just won't settle, you can’t set her down and she won’t sleep on her own.
Your baby is awake every hour for an hour or more all night long. You can’t get the rest and sleep you need.
Your baby struggle with difficulty latching, staying awake during feeding time, or extreme discomfort for you or your baby when nursing or taking a bottle.
Your baby always looks right, and she gets mad if you try to help her look the other way.
Your baby is tight and ridged and struggles to relax. You worry if it is normal or if she is uncomfortable.
Your gut just tells you something isn’t right, and you aren’t sure where to turn to next.
My goal as a pediatric chiropractor is to guide you on this new journey and ease the transition for you and your baby. Chiropractic care helps your baby regulate the nervous system during the transition.
When your baby struggles to nurse or latch, adjustments help ease jaw tension and increase nursing efficiency. When your baby struggles to poop, adjustments help promote digestion and relax muscles. When your baby cries and struggles to sleep, adjustments help soothe the fight or flight response. When your baby seems uncomfortable, adjustments help ease tension on baby’s system.
Adjustments are gentle and safe. I use no more pressure than you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato.
Adjustments for your baby will look totally different than an adjustment for yourself. I spend just as much time checking your baby’s head shape and tummy tension as I spend on your baby’s spine. Sometimes babies are happy on a comfy pillow, other times they prefer to be held by me or their parent. I will adjust your baby however you and your baby are most comfortable. Your baby may even sleep during the whole thing!
It really doesn’t take long to start seeing changes. Depending on your baby’s history, you may notice immediate changes. Some babies even have big blowouts during their first adjustment. Other times it is a slow and gradual change and within a couple of weeks, you could have a calm and happy baby. The process of healing and change is different for everyone, babies included.
Here are some unexpected side effects of chiropractic care for your baby:
Big blowouts. You know what I mean.
Long naps. Your baby might nap longer than usual after an adjustment as her nervous system learns to heal.
Increased hunger. Your baby might want to eat right after an adjustment, even if she just ate. In our office, we encourage you to stay and feed your baby. Jaw movement only improves the adjustment.
Faster feedings. Your baby will be more efficient when eating. She will eat a lot quicker after getting adjusted. This may catch you off guard if you are nursing, but it is expected.
Better head control. Your baby will have a better connection to her muscles and may have more control after an adjustment.
Longer sleep stretches. Need I say more?
More smiles. This usually takes a while, but before you know it, your baby will be happy to see me for an adjustment and she will be just happier overall!
The process of being born is hard work and it is a lot for you and your baby to adjust to. Chiropractic care can help your family have a smooth and happy adjustment into a new way of daily life!
Dr. Camille Berger is a mom, chiropractor, and owner of Early Beginnings Chiropractic. She provides chiropractic care, resources, and education to pregnant mothers. Inspired by her birth team, her life experiences, and her own children, Dr. Camille has also pursued additional training with the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Learn more about Early Beginnings Chiropractic by visiting their website.