- Dr. Liz Homan
Newborn Chiropractic Care
Last week we talked about pregnancy and the benefits of chiropractic care. If you missed that post, you can view it here.
We all know the blessing that comes after pregnancy is a beautiful baby, and for a few of you, 2 babies! 😊 Well, you gained a ton of benefit during your pregnancy from chiropractic care and now you are wondering if you should learn more about having your baby evaluated by a chiropractor as well!
Today I want to share with you about when you can schedule your newborns first chiropractic visit and what the initial evaluation and adjustment look like for them.
When should you schedule their first appointment? This is a personal preference of when you feel up to leaving the house. Some moms have their newborn in for their initial evaluation at less than a week old and other wait till their baby is a month old. I personally got both of my girls adjusted at just a few hours old, but I had the benefit of being able to do this myself once I felt aware enough. I know that this is not an option for most of you, but I honestly feel that the sooner they can be checked the better.
What does a newborn evaluation look like? When you came in for your initial evaluation, your posture, range of motion and spine were evaluated. We may have done some orthopedic or neurological testing depending on your presenting symptoms. For newborns it is similar but different all at the same time… I of course evaluate their spine for subluxations. I also check their passive range of motion, meaning that I move their body around to make sure there are no restrictions. There posture is checked as well but it is by looking at how their body is positioned and also by looking at their leg crease, or rolls, their butt crack and which way they tend to look. Above and beyond this I evaluate their primitive reflexes. These are the reflexes that we are born with that allow for us to survive at a young age. If anything does not fall within the normal range, this is a sign that your child would benefit from chiropractic care.
But you most likely don’t even know what you need to look for in regards to what I just went over. So, what are some things that you might see that would lead you to schedule an evaluation for your newborn baby?
· Did your child have in-utero constraint? When your baby was not in the optimal position in utero they may have been prevented them from moving around a lot. When a baby is stuck in one position for a lengthy amount of time, the tissues in their necks, arms and legs may be affected leading to subluxations forming while still in utero.
· Does your child incur any repetitive stresses? Some common repetitive motions for little ones include diaper changes, how they are placed in their car seats and passing a child between adults.
· Does your child express any of the following signs that their nervous system is not fully communicating to the rest of their body due to subluxations being present? Difficulty sleeping. Weak immune system. Difficult to sooth. Respiratory or food allergies. Digestion and elimination problems. Positional discomfort.
· Is your child meeting developmental milestones in the correct order? They should hold their head, then roll over, then crawl, stand and finally walk on their own.
So once a subluxation is identified, it is a chiropractor’s job to remove that subluxation with an adjustment. An adjustment is when a small amount of pressure, in the case of a newborn, the pressure I use is the same pressure that I use to check the ripeness of a tomato in my garden (VERY LITTLE), is applied to the vertebra in the spine in a very specific direction to move the bone back to its more near normal position.
The benefits of chiropractic care is the same no matter they age, which includes an improved connection between the brain and the rest of the body which allows for the body to heal itself from whatever ailments my be present. For some newborns this looks like them sleeping better, less symptoms of reflux or colic, better digestion and elimination and them having an overall better disposition.
I hope that this answers some of your questions as to when and why newborn chiropractic care may be beneficial and as always, if you have any questions, please let me know!