Providing chiropractic care for babies is one of my favourite things about my job! My practice is more pregnant women, babies and children than anything else. When I tell people that, there’s usually a few raised eyebrows.
Babies don’t have back pain!
Nope – well, not that they can tell us anyway! But then chiropractic isn’t about back pain – it’s about optimising health & life expression. And we want babies to be healthy, just like we want adults to be healthy, right?
Just like us grown ups, a baby’s body is governed by its nervous system. The brain and body of your little one is coordinating everything from pooping to crying for a feed to temperature regulation.
Your baby’s sensory nervous system picks up on what’s happening in his or her environment. Then his/her brain responds to it, adapting how their body is working. This might be a change in hormones, or a change in temperature. It could even be to scream out or startle.
Is it too cold? Am I hungry? Is mum close by? Am I safe?
Your baby’s nervous system isn’t as well developed as yours. Babies rely on you to protect them, and so they have pretty clear (and very loud!) ways of letting you know they’re anxious. For the first few months, they spend their lives in the primitive part of the brain where everything is about survival.
Fight and flight Vs Rest and digest
Have you ever known a baby to scream blue murder for hours on end, go days without pooping and/or struggle to sleep longer than 30 minutes at a time? That’s a baby who’s in survival mode. Their nervous system is on high alert. All their resources are drawn away from resting and digesting, and pushed instead into recognising threats.
When a baby has a subluxation (a misalignment causing nerve interference), it creates a state of high alert for them. The communication between their brain and body is skewed and they often perceive ‘normal’ events as dangerous.
How does chiropractic care for babies work?
If your baby’s examination shows he or she is subluxated and there’s nerve interference, your chiropractor will gently adjust your baby’s spine. Parents are often surprised at how relaxed their babies are during their adjustment. Lots of mums and dads are worried we’re going to go Bruce Lee on their little ones. Honestly, it couldn’t be further from the reality of adjusting babies!
To get a feel of the pressure a chiropractor would use on your baby, close your eyes and touch your index finger on your eyelid. As soon as you feel a slight discomfort, you’re already using more pressure than we use on babies!!
What to expect after an adjustment?
Depending on the main cause of subluxation in your baby – physical, chemical or emotional – you might find different outcomes. Some babies will release green snot for days as they detox. Others will have a few poonamis in a row, even on the table during their adjustment (one reason I always have a spare set of clothes with me). Every baby is different, but I will always give you an idea of what to expect during the report of findings appointment.
The great thing about being able to provide chiropractic care for babies is that they don’t have years of compensation patterns to undo. They tend to respond quickly, and their healing times are much quicker than adults.
Oh, and my favourite bit – that newborn smell!
If you want to learn more, you’ve got two options – you can request a free phone consultation where we can have a chat about what’s happening and see if chiropractic might be worth exploring for your baby. Or if you know that you want to get your baby checked, you can pre-book now for either the practice in Benfleet, or house calls in Colchester & Mersea.