It's such a delight to adjust the wee ones - and with the birth of my sweet baby niece a few short week ago, I've been asked about the ins and outs of pediatric chiropractic more than ever. SO, I thought I'd share a few common Q & A's with you!
Q: How old should you be before you have your first Chiropractic Adjustment?
A: A few hours to a few days is great!
As soon as mom and baby are comfortable and have had plenty of initial snuggles, I'm more than happy to gently swoop in for a first little assessment & adjustment.
Our bodies are often just a tiny bit misaligned as we are born. It can be from the way we developed in the womb (I think real estate calls it "cozy"?), or due to the tight squeeze on the way out.
It's just a tiny adjustment that can make a world of difference in a baby's development.
Q: But you can’t possibly adjust a baby!...Can you?
A: Adjusting newborns requires no more pressure than what it takes to massage your temples or pet a puppy.
I use a fingertip (pinkie or index finger) for the adjustment (not my whole hand) and the adjustment feels like a light wiggle of my fingertip.
Because babies have very little previous physical stress and are growing so quickly, their bodies are very responsive and require only the gentlest of pressure.
Q: Okay, so you can adjust a baby, but why would you ever need to? They’re brand new!
A: Misalignment of the baby’s spine often occurs during the birthing process.
No matter how optimal the birth was for mom and baby, it was still a very physical event. Whether vaginal or cesarian, birth is a verrrrry snug fit. This can shift areas of your baby's foundation that can contribute to:
- Latching issues - often due to jaw misalignment
- Torticollis (baby favors turning its head to one side) - cranial/upper neck misalignment
- Earaches/ear infections - cranial or upper neck alignment issue
- Spitting up, Reflux, Constipation, Gas - spinal misalignment
- Plagiocephaly (flattened area of the head). - Cranial alignment. (Safer than helmets, which can constrict the cranial bones during the most critical developmental stages of life).
Q: Wow, are there other benefits to pediatric chiropractic?
A: Better communication & coordination of all the body parts & systems!
When the spine is well aligned, it allows the brain to communicate clearly with the rest of the body via the network of nerves that run throughout your body. When communication is clear from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, every part of the body functions more optimally!
Some changes that parents have noted in their babies after being adjusted include:
- Great quality sleep!
- Better digestion
- More regular poops (frequency & form)
- Improved coordination
- A developmental milestone is met (holding bottle, rolling over, crawling, walking, etc)
- Stronger immune function
- Improved concentration and focus
- Better temperament and communication
Q: If I take my baby to a chiropractor, will they have to keep being adjusted for life?
A: That depends on your goals.
Short term: If you want to reach a certain goal, your baby needs to create a new pathway from the brain to the desired action. This is called neuroplasticity; the concept is like learning to ride a bike. Enough repetition will create a new pathway in our nervous system and we'll have "learned" a new skill! Chiropractic helps your baby learn these new skills by priming the nervous system. Once that skill is learned or the desired milestone met, your baby won't need further chiropractic sessions to "remember" that skill. It will be with them for life.
Mid term: Chiropractic is a great way to support your baby's growing body. From the position your baby developed in, to the birthing process, and all the bumps and falls it takes to go from tummy time, to crawling, to walking - routine chiropractic checkups keep your little one’s foundation in optimal alignment.
Long term: Babies grow and become kids. Kids benefit greatly from chiropractic because of many common reasons:
- They are ALWAYS growing - periodic chiropractic “check ups” keep their spine (their foundation!) in proper alignment, making growing and development that much more optimal.
- They are ALWAYS moving - from all the bumps and spills that are associated with being an active kid, chiropractic can help keep a growing baby, child, and teen moving properly and stay injury free! (or help rehab them should a sports injury occur).
- They’re sitting A LOT - from overloaded backpacks, to sitting at a desk all day, to the ever increasing use of technology, kids are starting to show the effects of “office syndrome” and “text neck” - postural stress that builds from day to day. Chiropractic helps counterbalance this stress, keeping their bodies from building up poor posture habits so early in life.
- They are ALWAYS ENGAGED - from birth through adulthood, there are a LOT of "firsts" to process, which - while normal - definitely puts stress on the nervous system. By keeping their spine aligned and their nervous system running as optimally as possible, kids can focus and develop better!
The great thing about our younger patients is that they don’t have years and years of wear and tear built up in their bodies - meaning a single session, while very gentle, is also very powerful. Kids usually respond very quickly to chiropractic sessions and require fewer visits to keep them operating at their best!
Q: What type of chiropractor should I find for my baby and children?
A: The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) offers extremely thorough training & certification in Prenatal care, Pregnancy Chiropractic (Webster Technique), and Pediatric Chiropractic (for babies & kids of all ages).
To find a chiropractor with this training, you can search by zipcode here.
To find out more about Pediatric Chiropractic, you can look here.
The Well-Adjusted Family
As a side note, most Pediatric Chiropractors also see "normal people" (adults!) too, and often will be able to book appointments to treat everybody in one visit! Talk about a well adjusted family!
Questions? Lets chat!
As always, if you have questions for me - I'm always happy to speak with you one on one!