Eastbourne Chiropractor for Babies
An Insight into Chiropractic Care for Babies and Young Children from an Eastbourne Chiropractor for Babies
Eastbourne Chiropractor Dr Gemma Crouch shares her insight into chiropractic care for little ones.
People are often surprised when they see parents with babies and young children in the reception area at Lushington Chiropractic ready for their adjustments. I often get asked why a baby would need to see a chiropractor and what is involved in their care. Therefore, I decided to write a blog to share some information, Eastbourne Chiropractor for babies…
Why Should My Baby see a Chiropractor?
H Bierdermann, a German orthopaedic practitioner, has explained that young children in the earliest stages of development go through two significant changes to their musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) system in early life.
The first is the birthing process.
Birth can be a very difficult experience for a baby, including natural births. Assisted deliveries such as forceps/ventouse or C-section, can increase the distress they experience. New-borns, as a result, are often very unsettled after delivery.
The musculoskeletal system in a baby and young child is very delicate. This means that biomechanical irritation to their muscles and joints is common. A check-up is often recommended at this stage.
The second major change occurs with an upright posture when a child starts to master walking.
The developmental transition from crawling on four bases to walking on two, changes the biomechanical properties of a child’s musculoskeletal system. The spine and pelvis become the new weight bearing structures with muscles and joints surrounding these structures playing new roles. It is inevitable that some bumps and falls may happen, and with the new biomechanical changes to a delicate musculoskeletal system, a check-up is also recommended at this stage.
Before a child’s last major growth spurt at 11-13 years of age, children are most at risk of developmental irregularities which can progress in later life if not attended to at an early age. For example, young children may have a delayed onset of walking simply because the pelvis and spine are not functioning as effectively as they should due to increased tension and strain on the joints making walking very difficult for them.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
Chiropractors are specialists in musculoskeletal conditions, such as increased tension and problems with muscles and joints. For babies and young children, musculoskeletal conditions can present themselves in many ways. For example, at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, I see a lot of unexplained crying and irritability, difficulty settling to sleep, looking to one side only and a dislike to lying on their back to sleep.
Occasionally, I also see infants who have difficulties with breastfeeding or who have a preference to one breast over the other because turning their neck to one side causes them discomfort.
A delay in motor milestones such as Tummy Time, crawling or walking can indicate that the muscles and joints in a child’s musculoskeletal system are not functioning as well as they should.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment for Babies and Children Involve?
The treatment I use is modified, very gentle and suitably controlled for babies and young children. I will always explain to you what is going on and talk you through your child’s treatment plan.
Young children often respond very well to chiropractic care and you may notice some changes quickly. Chiropractic adjustments are suitable for babies and children of all ages and do not cause any harm.
If you want to find out more about how chiropractic care can help your child or if you have any questions or concerns, I am always happy to provide a complimentary chat.
If you would like to make an appointment for your baby with Gemma at the clinic in Eastbourne, click here to find out more.
Thanks for reading
The importance of Tummy Time
Giving babies sufficient tummy time and exploring chiropractic for newborns
Working as chiropractor I see a lot of babies with a deformation in the shape of their head. This has been increasing over the years and has been more noticeable since the introduction of the back to sleep campaign, the recent addition of tummy time advice appears to be the solution for this problem.
The incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in England and Wales fell by two thirds following the introduction of the “back to sleep” health education campaign started in 1991, advising parents to place babies on their back or side to sleep, to avoid overheating and smoky environments, and to contact a doctor if their baby was unwell.
Since this introduction, the cases of sudden infant death syndrome has reduced dramatically although the incidence of positional plagiocephaly (flattening of a baby’s cranium) has increased from 1 in 300 to 1 in 60 infants. The main cause of plagiocephaly in infants is lying in the same position regularly and for long periods of time. Young babies’ skulls are soft and malleable, they can adjust over time to adapt to the shape of the surface that they are lying on, creating a flat area.
Tummy time helps to develop the neck, back, and shoulder muscles of your baby. This will help them meet their needed milestones (ability to roll, crawl and sit) and progress through childhood. It may also aid in the prevention of early motor delays. In this position a baby learns to take weight through their arms, push up and move weight from side to side which helps the baby to reach and crawl. As a baby gets stronger it provides a good position to learn to move and explore their surroundings.
Tummy time should always be done supervised and is best done when your baby is alert and awake. See how long your baby can happily stay on their tummy and try to increase this time by a minute every 3-4 days.
Tummy time tips:
- Tummy to Tummy or Tummy to Chest
Mum or dad lie down on the floor or a bed. Place your baby on your chest or tummy, so that you’re face-to-face. Always hold firmly for safety.
- Lap Soothe
Place baby face down across your lap to burp or soothe them. A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.
- Eye Level Smile
Offer additional support to your baby by rolling up a blanket under baby’s chest and shoulders.
- Tummy Minute
Place baby on their tummy after routine activities such as bathing or changing their nappy. This will help to get your baby used to tummy time as part of their daily routine.
How does tummy time help?
It helps the:
- Neck – Strengthens the muscles of the neck and improves head control.
- Brain – Sensory integration, cognitive development, environmental awareness.
- Head – Prevents a flat head or plagiocephaly.
- Eyes – Visual motor development and depth perception.
- Arms – Strengthens arms for reaching and crawling.
- Hands – Formation of hand arches for fine motor skills.
- Tummy – helps with tummy issues such as constipation or gas.
- Hips – stretches and develops hip muscles.
- Legs – helps develop muscles for crawling.
- Back – Improves postural strength and skeletal alignment.
Thank you for reading my blog post. You can read other information here in my other blogs.
Are you overusing your baby’s car seat?
Mums and dads are being urged not to overuse baby’s car seat?
The advice comes from the United Chiropractic Association (UCA), which says the habit of carrying a baby around in a car seat may be harmful to both child and parent. The UCA, which has around 600 members across the UK, warns that prolonged periods on their back, in a rigid car seat risks the development of plagiocephaly, or flattening of bones in the infant’s skull (miss-shapen head). Research has linked plagiocephaly with a risk of not reaching full coordination and learning potential later on.
At Lushington Chiropractic we understand that it’s very difficult to know what to do for the best as a parent. So we thought we’d review this latest recommendation for our patients and add some explanation.
Babies spines and craniums (newly formed skulls) are delicate during these early stages of development. So we shouldn’t leave them in a rigid seat or any fixed position for a long time. Too long in any position will eventually cause problems. Baby car seats are obviously essential for travel. However, our advice is to avoid using them for all-day baby transport. Our chiropractors suggest a more upright position in a good quality baby sling is a much better carrying option than the rigid car seat, or simply moving baby from the car seat to a pram will help. We also advise parents to allow their babies as much supervised ‘tummy time’ as possible to enable good spinal development.
The UCA says that keeping your baby in a car seat for long periods means their spine remains in a C-shape, preventing the natural curves of the neck and lower back from forming.
At Lushington Chiropractic we always advise our new parents to be careful of carrying the car seat around because it can be bad for them too. The seat is rigid and heavy. It’s bulky nature means you hold it away from you. The weight of baby plus the seat can put quite a strain on the adult’s back – especially if it’s a new mum who’s still recovering from birth (or even a c-section). It’s easier to pick baby up out of the seat, hold them close to you and move with them close to you.
James Revell – Doctor of Chiropractic say: “I struggle when I drop our baby off at nursery and have to take her in with her car seat for my wife to collect her (with the car seat) later”.
It’s easier (and better for your back) to lift baby out of the seat and carry them or put them into a pram or soft baby sling.
This is backed by research, which shows that carrying your baby in a sling saves 16% of your energy.
The UCA points out that infants who are carried for three hours or more each day in their first three months of life cry 43% less often than those carried less frequently. Supervised tummy time and crawling should also be encouraged. These activities are excellent for developing the spine properly as they allow the baby to lift the head off the ground and develop the arch of the neck.
Tummy time is a great way of helping baby get into good habits right from the start. If you’re concerned about your child or baby then remember that chiropractors are well versed in the requirements of children at this tender age. Not only will a chiropractor help to assess the development of your child, they can also educate you on what to look out for through the development stages and advise on the best activities to initiate good posture and alignment in later life.
Chiropractors are highly trained to recognise when someone shouldn’t be adjusted and will refer them back to their medical practitioners and paediatricians as appropriate.
Here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne our treatments are gentle, effective and suitable for all ages from birth to ninety (plus), so we can help you and your children. Our highly qualified and genuinely caring team have over 80 years’ experience between them. Call us today on 01323 722499.
Timothy Littlefield, et al., Car Seats, Infant Carriers, and Swings: Their Role in deformational Plagiocephaly Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics 15 (July 2003): 102-106.
Wall-Scheffler C, Geiger K, Steudel-Numbers K. Infant carrying: The increased locomotory costs in early development. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 2007; 133: 841-846. Doi: 10,1002/ajpa.20603
Hunziker UA, Barr RZ. Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying: A randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics 1986;77(5): 641-648