There are so many different baby gadgets and options nowadays; it can be overwhelming for a parent to figure out what is best for their child. Because as parent’s we don’t want to cause any harm to our little ones. Today we just wanted to make you aware of some things that may be causing stress on your baby’s spine that you didn’t even realize.
The spine and nervous system are one of the first things to develop during the embryonic stage. This makes sense because the nervous system directly or indirectly controls every other system in the body!! As the nervous system is developing, there is a progression of movements that a baby needs to go through.
While we certainly understand parent’s need to take a break and have both hands-free for 5 minutes. We want to make you aware of these things, so you can allow your baby to develop optimally.
The health of your spine and nervous system is often neglected, and because the nervous system is so far-reaching, there may be problems affecting your child in ways you aren’t even aware.
Car seats – when your child is first born, their spine is in C shape. As they grow and develop, the curves of their spine change, forming a lordosis in their cervical and lumbar spine. When a baby is a car seat, they are restricted to the C curve position due to the straps. Spending time on the floor on their tummies while using their muscles to explore, is the best way to counterbalance time spent in a car seat. Minimize unnecessary time spent in the car seats and strollers as best you can. When choosing a car seat, find ones with the widest seat base, this allows their legs to be able to be spread out. There should be enough space in between their knees to allow them to maintain a frog like position in the hips.
Diaper changing – Often when we change a baby’s diaper, we bring the legs up, which causes the thoracic/lumbar junction of your baby’s spine to become a fulcrum. This can cause a lot of tension/stress in this area of the spine. The nerves that exit the spine in this location go to the digestive system, which could lead to issues such as colic, reflux, constipation, or gas. We recommend having your child be evaluated by a chiropractor to assess that area if you are concerned. In this video, Dr. Beth shows an alternative way to change your child’s diaper, which causes less stress on the spine.
Rock’n Play – This device, while very convenient, can be one of the quickest ways to a flat head (plagiocephaly). This can be especially true if your child sleeps in the Rock’n Play, which we do not recommend. The reason is the same as talked about previously: having them strapped in forces them into the C position. If they have a misalignment in their neck and they prefer to have it turned to the left or right, it causes a lot of pressure on that side of their head, potentially leading to plagiocephaly. Chiropractic adjustments and plenty of tummy time help to counterbalance time spent in the Rock’n Play.
Baby Carriers – Baby carries are a great hands free option, if you have the correct one. What you want to look for is one with good support for you and encourages baby’s knees to be above their hips in a frog leg or M position. This allows the thigh to support the knee joint, which leads to less force on hip joint. Our personal favorites are the Moby wrap, a ring sling like Wild Bird and Lillibaby carrier.
The images below are from https://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/.
Baby Jumpers, seats, etc – Baby bouncers, jumpers, and bumbo seats can all be great options. Although it is best to wait and use them until your baby can be in that position on their own. For example, don’t place them in a bumbo seat or something similar, until they are able to sit on their own. Same with the baby walkers, don’t put them into one until they are able to stand on their own. Putting your child in these positions before they are developmentally ready can cause a lot of stress on their joints and potentially cause developmental delays. Even if your baby is developmentally ready to be in these positions, being conservative with time in them is best, so you’re not limiting their ability to build muscle and establish motor movements on their own.
We hope that you learned something while reading this blog. Also as stated before these are recommendations, we know that parents will need breaks and hands-free moments. If you have any questions be sure to talk with your family chiropractor. Remember, a small adjustment now can make a big impact later in life!
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