Unfortunate fact: Birth is a traumatic experience for your baby; did you know, for example, that the baby’s cranial bones move and overlap affording the flexibility required during delivery? This is essential for many aspects of development however it is also pretty stressful. After a successful delivery, a baby’s spine is still at risk There are small precautions you can take and things you can do to help.
When holding your baby, ensure that their head is supported with your index finger behind the ear. When bathing your baby, keep their head supported with thumb and forefinger, while your free hand is used for bathing and supporting their body.
Breast feeding should be done with baby facing the breast to minimise neck rotation, and do use a pillow to support you and your baby as it’ll be better for your own back! If your baby is struggling to latch in one position try another one – a great option is the clutch or rugby ball (football) hold.
Although they may laugh and smile, throwing your child up and down can actually cause spinal problems due to a lack of core strength, it’s best to avoid it in the early years. When picking children up, lift while holding them under both arms and avoid carrying them on one hip. Carry your baby like an African mother, either on your front or back, with one leg either side of you. Lots of contact results in a happy contented baby, don’t forget they have just spent 9 months inside you.
Try and avoid contraptions that force your child to sit before it is naturally able to, these can actually cause long-term spinal problems as they keep your baby’s spine in the ‘c’ shape curve it’s born with and do not allow the normal curves in the neck and low back to develop.
It’s probably obvious, but emotional stress can also have a massive impact. Domestic disharmony and maternal distress is very quickly picked up by the infant and translated into irritability, crying and unsettled behavior. The negative effect on muscle tone, sleeping and feeding patterns is a major contributor to spinal problems later down the line.
Finally, get moving! Crawling, wriggling and rolling on the floor should be actively encouraged. Maintain eye contact where possible and always smile. If you have any concerns whatsoever about your baby’s development, please go and see a Chiropractor.
By Joanna Lowry-Corry BSc (Neuroscience), MChiro, CCEP, LC for the Healthy Moms Magazine
Joanna is one of London’s leading Chiropractors and a highly regarded neuro-muscular skeletal expect. Through her insight, exceptional treatment and extraordinary patient care, Joanna has changed the lives of many people that visit her clinic. She now wants to share her passion for, and experience in muscular-skeletal health with the general public so that more people can understand the importance of Functional Movement in their daily lives.
Joanna is an honours graduate in Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh (2004), a post-graduate Master of Chiropractic (2009), a Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner (2010) and a Licentiate Member of the Royal College of Chiropractors and she hopes to help more people understand the role movement and muscular-skeletal health plays in our overall wellbeing. For more information visit thisislondonwellness.com.