Why would I take my baby to a chiropractor?
Having been lucky enough to have a family of my own, I have an idea of the wave of emotions that comes with having a baby.
I understand that this perfect being that is as much a part of you as your own arm is the most precious wonderful thing that you have ever known.
I also understand that some parents have an easier journey than others.
Some parents want some respite from the constant crying. Some mothers are concerned that their baby has an oddly shaped head or face, or always turns their head to one side and never to the other, or always lie curved like a banana. Some parents wonder if their baby is in pain from the constant wriggling and screaming. Some parents are concerned that their baby has been put on strong medication from such a young age and are searching for an alternative. Some mothers tell me about nipple trauma so severe their eyes well up at the thought of another feed. Some parents are regular visitors to our clinic and want me to “just check her over”.
These are all reasons that parents give me for why they have brought their baby into my office.
How do problems arise?
Working with infants is a bit like being a vet. Although the baby cannot communicate with me directly, there are always clues and signs that help me to decide what is going on and why it has happened.
Sometimes the baby has had a long, difficult and traumatic labour, eventually ending up with assistance with delivery such as ventouse or forceps, resulting in massive amounts of pressure to baby’s delicate cranial structures. Sometimes the labour and birth was “textbook” but Mum reports discomfort throughout her pregnancy. Sometimes the labour didn’t progress at all, baby got stuck in a certain position on the inside, and even after a caesarean section baby appears to be asymmetrical in some way. Sometimes pregnancy and labour were no problem but baby doesn’t seem to open her mouth to feed effectively. Sometimes baby will only feed happily on one side. Sometimes Mum had to stop breastfeeding due to trauma and pain. Sometimes baby will be very sick and gag at every feed, breast or bottle.
This wide variety of clinical presentations leads me to think that truthfully we will never know the exact cause of every baby’s problem, but isn’t this the case with so many health issues? It is my personal feeling that these problems can arise from inter-uterine constraint (positioning difficulties within the uterus), birth complications or overuse of car seats, baby bouncers and other devices created to enable you to put the baby down, instead of the more traditional carrying or “wearing” of baby.
Babies are incredibly resilient, and will figure out a way to function regardless of any problems, but this will result in compensation patterns. They will seek to be in the most comfortable position for them, so this might be a curved or twisted spine, or laying on a flatter area of their head. Sometimes they might not be able to find a comfortable position, resulting in a stressed state for the child, and babies generally only have one method of alerting their parents! This might also make napping and sleeping very difficult for the infant. Sometimes they find the position of feeding uncomfortable, and get so worked up during/after a feed they might end up vomiting up the milk they just consumed, or refusing to open their mouth wide enough to breastfeed effectively.
Once I have figured out the problem/s (in many infants there is more than one factor at play) I can get to work addressing any imbalances within the baby’s body. I am also an NCT trained breastfeeding counsellor, so occasionally I will notice any positioning issues when mother and baby are feeding in the office and try to address that as well. Sometimes the problem isn’t with the baby but a slight positional change is all that is needed!
“Treatment” is very gentle, and I will do everything possible to keep baby happy and distress-free. If you were to watch a session you may not even notice I was doing anything, it would just look like gentle stretching. Sometimes baby will get upset if I come across an area that is uncomfortable for the baby or often when I am checking intra-orally the baby will think they are about to get a feed, only to feel my finger inspecting their mouth!
I work closely with other health professionals involved in your baby’s care. I am an NCT trained breastfeeding counsellor so I have a variety of expertise on infant care and feeding.
I will always ensure that patients and their babies and children seek appropriate medical advice and treatment alongside any chiropractic treatment, and will refer patients back to their GP if a problem is outwith my scope of practice.
If you would like to make an appointment for me to assess your child, please call 01330 824040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.