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Should I consider chiropractic care for my baby?

A lot of parents come to our clinic because they're interested in getting care for themselves, but often they are surprised to see that we also treat children, toddlers, and newborns. When they hear and see us caring for babies and newborns, and the most common question we hear is 'Why do babies need to get adjusted?'. Today, we decided to address this question as well as the other common questions that we get regarding pediatric chiropractic!

Why should I take my baby to a chiropractor?

The first year of life is one where there's a huge amount of brain development happening. As babies see, touch, taste, hear, and smell the world around them, they start forming connections in their brain and progressively laying down the foundation for future knowledge and skills. In order for this to happen optimally, their nervous system needs to be receptive, responsive and adaptive to the new internal and external environment.

Chiropractic is a complementary and alternative medicine whose aim is to support your child's development by aiding the functioning of their nervous system through gentle and precise chiropractic treatment. Our conviction is that healthy kids become healthy adults and that through early chiropractic care we are able to help set them up for success down the road.

What are some signs or symptoms that suggest that my baby could benefit from chiropractic care?

Some signs to keep an eye out for that could suggest that your baby could benefit from chiropractic adjustments include:

  • Difficulty with breastfeeding on one side

  • Head is often rotated or leaning to the same side

  • Excessive fussiness or irritability

  • Constant arching of the back and head

  • Sleep issues

  • Difficulty with bowel movements

While we don't claim to treat specific conditions, by supporting a baby's nervous system functioning we've had parents report improvement in symptoms such as:

  • Constipation

  • Colic/reflux

  • Spit up

  • Fussiness

  • Chronic illness/immune system

  • Ear infections

  • Meeting milestones

Because the nervous system directly innervates all the tissues, organs and systems in your body, when your baby's nervous system is able to function properly (without one hand tied behind its back), it's no wonder we see struggling babies thrive. Even babies who are perfectly healthy or don't have a lot of issues going on benefit from chiropractic care because we're able to support their nervous system through their development and help set them up for success in the future.

Can I take my baby to any chiropractor?

Education in the chiropractic profession requires that all chiropractic students go through set hours of education in treating the pediatric population. Nonetheless, you really want to make sure that the chiropractic office that you're considering treats a lot of babies and kids and that they have additional training in pediatric chiropractic care. Your baby will receive the best care possible and chances are that the clinic itself will have special accommodations geared towards you and your baby (for example changing tables, a nursing room, diapers, toys, pediatric pillows, and staff that is friendly and can assist in keeping an eye on older siblings while you focus on your baby's visit).

In order to find a pediatric clinic, you can research different websites or social media before hand. You can also call the office directly and ask if they specialize in pediatrics or if they've had training with pediatric associations, such as the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association). If not, ask them if they know of any pediatric chiropractors in the area. Similarly, you can reach out to your pediatrician or other medical professional/health care professionals to see if they know of any pediatric chiropractors in your area.

What does a chiropractic adjustment on a baby look like?

There's a couple of different techniques or ways to adjusting babies and young kids, but the main thing to understand is that babies are not tiny adults. This means that their adjustments are not a gentler copy of adult spinal manipulation, in fact in our office it looks nothing like the way we adjust adults -or even young children for that matter. A baby's body and the way that their neurology responds to an adjustment is different, and so it requires a different approach.

In our office, adjustments on babies are always gentle and specific. We use very light pressure, about the same that you use to check a tomato for ripeness, in order to correct spinal misalignments. We rely on observing baby's positional preference, muscle tone, palpation, and other methods to assess baby's spine. We also make sure that baby's parents are close so that both parties feel comfortable and parents feel included in the process.

How many adjustments does my baby need?

Fortunately, babies don't have years of degeneration or a history of significant injuries like big falls or motor vehicle accidents. This means that their nervous system tends to respond quicker to the correction of misalignments, and parents often report an improvement in mood, sleep, digestion and others quicker compared to teenagers or other adults.

That being said, our goal is not only to correct interruption in their nervous system communication, but to maintain optimal communication between their brain and the rest of their body. Because of this we recommend maintenance care, where they periodically get checked for misalignments and correct shifts as they occur. This is especially important as they start learning how to crawl and walk because at that point they will be falling and getting bumps numerous times per day. Regular check ups allow us to catch these small and gradual shifts in their bones as they occur. Our goal is to prevent them from becoming teenagers or young adults with neck pain, headaches, back pain, or other significant issues.

Have any other questions regarding chiropractic care for your little one? Feel free to reach out to us or your local pediatric chiropractor!

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