Being the parent to a newborn baby is such a rewarding experience, although a challenging one. One week you and your cute baby are sleeping through the night, then the next, both of you are wide awake.
Whether it is colic, tummy, or sleep issues, many parents have reported that chiropractic care has helped their baby find relief. The good news is, chiropractic care is safe for newborns within the first few weeks of birth, and babies born either through natural birth or via C-section can benefit from this care.
In this article, we are going to explore the many benefits of chiropractic care for babies, as well as, how effective it can be, how many sessions are often recommended, and what it might cost.
What Can a Chiropractor Do for an Infant?
A chiropractor is an expert who works with the body by using gentle manipulations which help the body restore normal nervous system function, enabling the body to heal itself.
Sometimes, your cutie is fussy or irritable. This can be due to many different factors, such as: incorrect latching, or impaired sucking, slight tension in the spine, ear infections, a slow digestive system, acid reflux, food allergens in breast milk, or an immature digestive system.
Although a chiropractor will help improve these issues, they do not cure specific diseases. This makes it necessary to work with a nurse, pediatrician, or any healthcare provider to eliminate possible causes of pain or unhappiness.
7 Benefits of Infant Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care entails working the body in a way that allows itself to heal naturally. There are seven main benefits of chiropractic care for babies. Let's discover what each of these seven is:
Babies with reflux can get relief through chiropractic adjustments. According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, a 3-month-old baby, suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, experienced relief at the 7th chiropractic visit. The baby's symptom of vomiting after every feeding was reduced to vomiting only once per day. The study attributed the recovery to the chiropractic care given to the baby.
2. Soothe Colic Symptoms
Colic can be caused by many different reasons. If all medical conditions have been ruled out, your baby may be diagnosed with colic. It is often associated with an immature or underactive gastrointestinal system, leading to gas build-up and indigestion.
An immature digestive system will find it difficult to cope with the gas buildup, which is a typical result of digestion. Therefore, gas is trapped in the gut causing bloating and pain.
Gentle manipulations will stimulate nerve flow to the small intestines, enabling peristalsis. This, then, helps to push the liquid and gas through.
3. Boost Recovery After Birth
Through gentle manipulations, tension and strain will be eased from certain key areas of your baby's body. This will also help correct any nerve damage that may have arisen after natural birth or a C-section. The delivery process can be traumatic for your baby, leading to nerve impairment.
Chiropractic care helps align the spine and ensures no nerve impairment will cause sleeping or breathing difficulties, reflux, and colic symptoms in your babies.
4. Reduce General Fussiness
Parents and doctors often find it challenging to identify the exact cause of fussiness and irritation in babies. However, once the cause is not a sickness, chiropractic care can help. Studies have shown that chiropractic care reduces fussiness - which can be caused by mechanical restrictions in your baby's spine - leading to crying, sleeping difficulties, increased nervous irritability, muscle spasms, and headaches.
Most parents often notice a marked difference after a few sessions of chiropractic care.
5. Boost the Immune System
The immune system relies on proper nutrition, rest, and the health of the spine. The nervous system runs through the spine, and misalignment can trigger irritation to the nerve pathways. This, then, affects all the systems in the body.
The immune system is made up of the thymus (an organ in the neck) which releases cells to boost: the immune system, lymph nodes, the spleen, and all interconnections to the brain through the spine.
Evidence has shown that with spinal adjustments, the body releases immune defenses, which are transferred to the part of the body where they are needed most. This is very important in babies, children, and adults.
6. Treating ear infections
The eustachian tube that drains the middle ear of excess fluids can be blocked due to recurrent sinus infections, colds, or allergies. In some cases, gentle manipulation of the vertebrae of the upper neck will help to dilate the eustachian tube, leading to drainage of the middle ear. Always take your baby for a medical check-up for this condition; ear infections need to be treated with antibiotics.
7. Support Physical Development
Babies are born with primary spinal curves, also known as, thoracic and sacral kyphosis. In the first year, the spine increases to twice its length, while the secondary spinal curves (the lower back and neck lordosis) develops.
This is a lot of change in one year. As your baby begins to lift his or her head, the neck curvature forms. As your baby learns to sit, his or her lower back curvature forms. Without proper alignment, during these critical milestones, your baby's spinal curvatures may not develop properly. This could lead to impaired physical development and slower milestone accomplishment.
With chiropractic care, your baby's spine will be aligned to improve his overall posture.
Are There Dangers Involved with Infant Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care for adults and infants is not the same. Chiropractors are aware of a baby's body constitution and will not twist or pull the spine, as it would an adult. They use gentle pressure to manipulate the spine, which is safe for infants.
How Effective is Chiropractic Therapy for Babies?
Want to know just how effective chiropractic therapy can be for babies?
In a report from the study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, involving an 8-day-old baby who had difficulty breastfeeding since four days old, an initial assessment found cranial, cervical, and sacral restrictions. The baby was diagnosed with craniocervical syndrome by a chiropractor.
Based on the clinical findings, gentle chiropractic manipulation was administered, and the baby had an easier time breastfeeding successfully after three treatments, over a two-week time frame.
Another report involved a 31/2-month old female suffering from breastfeeding difficulties. She also had poor weight gain, severe infantile colic, and was medically diagnosed as failure to thrive.
She received chiropractic adjustments appropriate for her age and weight to alleviate her vertebral subluxation, over a total of eight visits.
A follow-up revealed she gained weight and reported relief from her condition. The baby's referral to a gastrointestinal specialist was canceled.
How Many Sessions Are Recommended?
Each baby's case is uniquely different, the therapist will determine the number of sessions and the length it will take based on evaluation and feedback from your baby's body. From the studies above, it is evident that changes can be seen in as few as three to eight sessions, and more may be needed, based on your baby's needs.
What did Will Chiropractic Care cost for Babies?
The average price per session in the country is $35-$250.The overall cost of your chiropractic treatment for treating your baby will depend on the number of sessions that you go to and how frequently you go for an adjustment. For more information, read: How Much Does Chiropractic Therapy Cost?
Alcantara, J., & Anderson, R. (2008). Chiropractic care of a pediatric patient with symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, fuss-cry-irritability with sleep disorder syndrome and irritable infant syndrome of musculoskeletal origin. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 52(4), 248-255. Retrieved May 14, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2597889/
Holleman, A. C., Nee, J., & Knaap, S. F. (2011). Chiropractic management of breast-feeding difficulties: a case report. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 10(3), 199-203. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2011.01.010. Retrieved May 14, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22014911
Ian, S., and Joel, A.D.C. (2018). Resolution of Failure to Thrive, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Infantile Colic & Breastfeeding Difficulties Following Chiropractic Care to Reduce Vertebral Subluxation: Case Study & Review of Literature. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic, Volume 2018. Retrrieved May 14, 2019 from https://www.vertebralsubluxationresearch.com/2018/06/07/resolution-of-failure-to-thrive-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd-infantile-colic-breastfeeding-difficulties-following-chiropractic-care-to-reduce-vertebral-subluxation-case-study-review-o/
Paige, S. and Joel, A. (2019) Resolution of Chronic, Recurrent Bilateral Ear Infections Following Chiropractic Care in a One-year-old Infant: A Case Report & Review of the Literature. Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health Chiropractic, Volume 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019, from https://www.vertebralsubluxationresearch.com/2019/01/16/resolution-of-chronic-recurrent-bilateral-ear-infections-following-chiropractic-care-in-a-one-year-old-infant-a-case-report-review-of-the-literature/