Why is it that chiropractic works so well in removing common breastfeeding stumbling blocks? Nicole Piazza Lederman, an ICPA-certified chiropractor practicing in Waterloo, Ontario, and former associate professor at Parker University’s College of Chiropractic, explains it this way:
Chiropractic helps for several reasons. First, in the newborn or preemie, the baby may have a weak suck reflex due to interference in the nervous system, especially at the level of the upper cervical spine. This can be caused by immaturity in the nervous system, in the case of the preemie, or by subluxation of the joints in the upper cervical spine due to birth trauma. Even in “good” hospital births, the head and neck are usually “managed” as the baby exits the birth canal and when the shoulders are delivered. This often results in some pulling and stretching of the tissues and joints in the neck. This type of birth trauma can cause a sprain/strain injury to the joints of the neck in addition to a subluxation complex.
Breastfeeding problems can also be caused by different cranial faults or slight misalignments in the cranial bones. This can again be due to the management of the head as the baby exits the birth canal. This can also be caused by the position of the baby in utero as well as prolonged or protracted labors, especially where vacuum or forceps have been used. In my experience, these babies will go to the breast and feed for a minute or two, but are fussy and come off the breast as they cannot get a good latch.
Most often I find that these babies have misalignment in the temporal mandibular joint, a fault at the frontal parietal articulation, as well as having an inferior palate on the same side as the TMJ subluxation. Once correcting this complex, you can test the sucking reflex by placing a finger in the baby’s mouth; you’ll find that the sucking reflex is better coordinated and much stronger. Moms are so relieved and grateful to be able to breastfeed their babies.
Mothers and chiropractors are not the only ones who recognize the powerful and positive role that chiropractic can have on the nursing relationship. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) are also beginning to take note. Mellanie Sheppard, an IBCLC in the Fort Worth, Texas, area, says this, echoing many of Dr. Lederman’s thoughts.
A long, difficult birth, a very fast birth, a vacuumor forceps-assisted birth, or a cesarean birth may create tightness or tension in the neck, jaw or shoulders, which in turn can create some dysfunctional sucking patterns. A dysfunctional suck can cause breastfeeding to be inefficient for baby and can create pain for mom. Chiropractic care can relieve this tightness and tension and result in better breastfeeding with less pain.
When a lesson on how to latch just isn’t enough to make breastfeeding work, chiropractic care just makes sense in correcting the deeper physiological causes of nursing difficulty. Helping the body function properly through a chiropractic adjustment does so much more than alleviate back pain.
-Sarah Clark, Pathways Issue 46
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Photo credits: Angel Murphy Photography, Ivette Ivens Photography
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Car seats are very important while infants are in the car, that part is clearly true. The challenge begins when it’s time to leave the car altogether. Traveling into the home isn’t a problem, but going to a doctor’s appointment, shopping, to the library, out to eat, the list goes on and on. Sooner or later most parents learn that the car seat is a convenient place for baby to be when Mom needs her hands.
Sadly a growing newborn spine and skull is very impressionable to outside forces, especially being in the exact same position for long periods of time.
The Rise of Flat Head Syndrome
Medical professionals have begun to notice an alarming rise in the incidence of a skull deformity in infants called “flat head syndrome.” Plagiocephaly, the medical term for this flattening of the skull, can occur as a result of consistent pressure on a particular spot. It is a cosmetic condition, but one that can be permanent if left untreated. The increase in plagiocephaly is frequently blamed on the fact that babies are now placed on their backs to sleep, a position that has been shown to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
If a baby’s head is always in the same position, the pressure can deform the skull. However, back-sleeping is not the only factor. Extended periods of time spent in a baby seat can also contribute to this condition, as can long periods in strollers, swings, and other devices that put babies in a back-lying position.
Thomas R. Littlefield, M.S., is affiliated with an Arizona clinic that treats plagiocephaly. In an article in the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics, he notes that 28 percent of infants who attend the clinic spend 1.5 to 4 hours daily in car seats or swings, and nearly 15 percent are in them for more than four hours per day. Another 5 percent of infants are allowed to sleep in these devices. Littlefield observes that cranial distortion resulting from overuse of car seats and swings is more severe and complex than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress. Consequently, he recommends reducing the time spent in car seats and swings, if possible. (1)
Concern over plagiocephaly also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to suggest in 2003 that infants “should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning.”
When infants must be in a back-lying position, moving their heads occasionally can help reduce pressure and avoid developing a flat spot. The simplest and most effective prevention, however, is to decrease the cumulative time an infant spends on her back. (1)
Poor Positioning for Infants
Plagiocephaly is not the only problem associated with heavy use of car seats. According to Dr. Jeanne Ohm, executive coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (http://www.icpa4kids.com), many infants in strollers or car seats constantly tilt their heads to one side or the other. “That’s a good indication that their upper cervical spine is out of alignment,” says Ohm.
Short periods spent in a car seat are fine, but “keeping them in that position where it’s easiest for their head just to fall to the side—that leads to further spinal stress later on in life.” Ohm prefers to see parents carry infants in their arms and use different types of carriers. “Using a variety of carriers supports correct postural development for the child.” (1)
The Benefits of Babywearing
Babywearing is defined as the act of wrapping a baby in cloth around the torso of a parent and it has a long list of benefits. Parents mainly comment that they prefer babywearing to the traditional methods of carting around a baby carrier, diaper bag, purse and many other items. Especially in scenarios involving a great deal of walking, wearing baby is an ergonomic way to keep Mom or Dad’s back feeling strong (vs. carrying the heavy seat around on only one hip or arm) and keeps baby’s head upright, reducing asymmetrical strain on her little neck, reducing the chances of developing plagiocephaly.
In infancy the act of babywearing by a breastfeeding Mom can be the most efficient way to keep baby calm and facilitate discreet feedings. In addition to the ease on Mom’s back from having baby’s weight held snugly to her core, baby is much less likely to fuss and cry with Mom’s soothing heartbeat in her little ears. Mom can then leave the car seat in the car, and hopefully consolidate to only one carry bag (or ask her partner to carry all of baby’s extra items).
Wearing baby also eliminates the risk of the car seat falling from a table, chair, cart or being kicked by an unknowing passerby. Car seats tend to be large and bulky, often being placed into pathways, around corners and under desks or next to chairs on the floor. This is risky for baby who cannot call out a warning to defend himself and often winds up scared from the encounter, if not injured.
As baby grows, a toddler can be worn in the front facing out to the world, or on a parent’s back facing forward with Mom or Dad. Some parents are so coordinated they can wear an infant in front and a toddler in back! Now that is some impressive multitasking! In the case of toddler wearing, it has the added benefit of not allowing baby to run off if he is of an ambulatory stage, preventing dangerous encounters where he can be injured, or kidnapped.
In conclusion, although the car seat carrier can be incredibly beneficial for keeping baby safe while traveling in the family car, baby wearing just might be a better option in many scenarios. In the end it is always up to the parent to decide which choice is right for their family, however it is always wonderful to know all of the options.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you enjoyed it, you may want to check out the first post in this article series: Car Seat Struggles + Benefits of Babywearing Part 1.
Thank you for reading!
1 - Portions of this article can be credited to Catherine McKenzie of the ICPA, and issue #23 of Pathways to Family Wellness.
It's that time again! The summer heat stimulates mouth watering recipes. This summer recipe series will bring you a new inspiring meal idea each week for your family to enjoy. YUM!
This week's recipe is Maple Sriracha Chicken Kebobs and they look divine!
Doesn't that look delicious? You may want to double or triple the recipe for a large family, or to create extra yummy leftovers.
Did you decide to make this recipe? If so, let me know! I'd love to hear your feedback.
Credit for this recipe goes to Julie Wampler of tablefortwoblog.com. Thank you Julie!
The birth of your newborn is a beautiful time... until your first trip outside the home. Then begins the mass exodus of baby materials, bags, strollers, car seats, extra clothes, blankets, binkies... the list goes on and on!
Even though your baby weighs less than 10 pounds, the extra baggage can easily weigh 2-3 times that amount, PLUS the baby's weight too! This is one of the many reasons experts are recommending baby carrying (in a sling or baby Bjorn-type device) vs. lugging the baby seat all over the place when going to stores, doctor's appointments and other excursions.
The Burden of Baby's Baggage
It’s not the baby that so weighs down new parents in the weeks after their child is born—a newborn weighs, on average, less than eight pounds. Instead, it’s the bulky diaper bag, the stroller, the spare clothing—all the trappings that modern parents feel obliged to carry. The infant car seat has become part of that baggage.
One of the main reasons that parents buy portable car seats is so they can remove a sleeping infant from the car without waking them. There are certainly times when this is handy, but the strategy can easily backfire. Many parents might remember shopping trips that began with baby asleep in her car seat, but only ten minutes later she was awake and screaming to be held. Often parents end up carrying her and the car seat—separately—for the rest of the trip. Parents comment that it is often simpler to wake her and put her into the sling, where she would frequently fall back to sleep again anyway.
Besides, an infant seat is usually an inefficient way to transport a baby. When placed on the floor of a doctor’s waiting room, it is at the perfect height for being accidentally tripped over or kicked. It’s downright hazardous when placed on a chair or table—something most manufacturers advise against. Outside the car, the seat becomes just one more thing to lug around. Leave it in the back seat and you may find yourself feeling remarkably light and free. (1)
The Physical Strain on Parents
An infant car seat can weigh nearly as much as the newborn inside it. Yet it’s common to see people walking around a shopping mall or grocery store, holding a car seat by the handle, the baby strapped inside. This can be hard on anyone’s back, but new mothers are particularly vulnerable. A woman “maintains [the hormone] Relaxin in her system for a good nine months after birth, and Relaxin makes the joints loose,” says Dr. Jeannie Ohm.
“That’s something you need for birth to be able to open up the whole pelvic opening, but it’s a weakening factor, in a sense, if you’re going to do some heavy lifting.”
Infant seats are designed to be portable, but they are still awkward to carry, according to Ohm. “You have to hold it away from your body so your leg isn’t kicking it, so your whole upper spine is tilted over.” Ohm often sees new mothers with injuries from this kind of lifting, and discourages them from doing it unnecessarily.
If a parent does want to keep her child in the car seat while out on a trip, using a compatible stroller or universal car seat carrier (a stroller frame that accommodates different brands of car seats) is much easier on her back than trying to carry the seat by the handle. (1)
If you can relate to the struggles of new parenthood, or know someone who does, be sure to check out the next article in this series: "Car Seat Struggles + Benefits of Baby Wearing Part 2."
1 -Credit for portions of this post should be given to Catherine McKenzie of the ICPA, and issue #23 of Pathways to Family Wellness.
Thank you for reading! If you'd like to contact me you can do so at email@example.com. See you next week!
Every parent has experienced the dreaded task of getting your kids to eat their veggies. You've tried fun recipes, you've tried different varieties, types and even tried covering everything in cheese!
Sometimes it's helpful to read a new article, some new tips and tricks to getting your kiddos to eat their healthy veggies and fruits. We all know the importance of healthy whole foods in growing strong children- but sometimes it seems the better the food, the less they want to eat it!
Check out this article from Family Wellness First about getting kids to eat their greens:
Did you check out the amazing recipe at the end for Baked Broccoli Bites? How cool is that! Don't they just look delicious...
If you'd like to learn more about chiropractic and how healthy lifestyles can benefit our kids, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (303) 374-4856. As always, if you'd like to make an appointment to get yourself or your children checked, please go here to book online: boulderfamilychiro.genbook.com. Thank you for reading!
Parents have been seeking Chiropractors for years for help with a whole range of ailments and growing pains. In recent decades, researchers have been seeking scientific proof of the benefits chiropractic parents know and love- that well adjusted kids tend to heal quicker, get sick less often and experience fewer ailments into adult years.
However even with all of the anecdotal evidence of benefits to children who are well-adjusted, research is always welcome to confirm these truths.
Check out the most recent press release on Chiropractic care in children, from the ICPA:
Chiropractic Care is Safe, Gentle and Effective
With the evolution of modern health care, more options and
choices are now available for those seeking to manage their
own health. Chiropractic for children is becoming one of the
most popular choices. In the late 1990s, an average of 30
million pediatric visits were made to chiropractors.
Chiropractic effectiveness and safety studies to date have
pointed out that there is no clear evidence of harm to-date,
and the purpose of this study  is to shine further light on to
the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments on
children. To do so, a study survey was created and sent to
over 2000 practicing chiropractors and parents whose
children have undergone or are undergoing chiropractic care.
The survey covered multiple topics of inquiry, including the
reason the parents sought care, what type of adjusting
techniques were used, and what kind of outcomes were seen
Outcomes were categorized into improvements, aggravations, such as worsened symptoms or complaints following adjustments, and complications, including fractures, sprains, strains, strokes, or death. The results were positive from both parents and practitioners.
The chiropractic survey showed that of 577 pediatric cases, totaling over 5000 visits, only 3 aggravations of muscles stiffness or soreness were reported, all of which were minor, and were addressed by the practitioner. There were no reports of complications.
The results of the parent survey were similar, showing that of 239 children and 1735 visits, 162 parents reported improvements, 2 reported aggravations, and none reported complications. Overall, the safety results, as reported by parents, showed that 0.83% of the population, or 1 in every 867 visits, resulted in minor adverse events.
What was staggering about the results were the reasons why parents sought chiropractic care for their children. 47% of parents sought “wellness care,” which means there were no complaints or symptoms in the children, and the parents sought care that was vitalistic and holistic in nature that would maintain and optimize the child’s health. The reasons for care that dealt with symptoms included musculoskeletal pain; ear, nose, and throat problems; neurological problems; colic; constipation and bedwetting; asthma and allergies; and birth trauma.
For more information about Chiropractic adjustments for children, feel free to reach out by phone at (303) 374-4856 or email at email@example.com. As always, if you'd like to book an online appointment for Chiropractic care, you can do so here: boulderfamilychiro.genbook.com.
Thank you for reading!
If you'd like to download your own copy of the research report, you can do so below:
In this rush and bustle life that we life, we rarely get the chance to "stop and smell the roses". Today's thunderstorms made me realize how important it is to listen to the world and delight in the joy of the rain. The smell of fresh damp earth, the sound of heavy raindrops hitting the pavement, the color of the clouds as they bloom with dark purples, greys and navys- it is all beautiful and usually missed.
We are often rushed by the perceived needs of our day- errands, job tasks, emails, texts, facebook... we have been taught that these are the important things in life.
In reality, mother nature has been moving the seasons for so many millenia that man is but a speck on her radar. In truth, the rainstorm has more permanence than any text, email or phone call could ever hope to have.
On the bright side, science is beginning to show truth to what the Buddhists have known for eons- mindfulness is the key to vitality. Gratitude for the now is what keeps us young, happy and full of love.
So let that email wait just a moment. Return that text a little later. Grab someone you love and head outside into the rain. At the very least let the world pause for a moment and take the time to enjoy your surroundings.
Breathe in that damp heady scent. Take in the lush verdant views. Experience the now, and savor the moment. For we all know deep down, that one day, even after all the technology is gone... we will still have the rain.
. . . . .
<3 I love and adore all of you. Thank you for reading my words on this day. I hope they inspired you to enjoy the moments of your life just a little bit more. <3
Dr. Amanda loves empowering women to reach the life they crave through daily habits, hacks and ideas. She continues to practice in Boulder, CO as a holistic chiropractor and health mentor to ladies of all ages.