At Chiropractic College we were taught to adjust (correct alignment and restore normal movement of joints) babies using tiny fingertip pressure adjustments. We practiced on one another before we started working in the college clinic but it was nothing like actually adjusting a real baby so I will always remember the first baby girl that was brought to see me because she was having trouble feeding. She couldn't latch onto her mother's breast very well and was crying like it caused her discomfort and frustration.
I was so nervous, I thought to myself 'Oh no, I have no idea what I'm going to do with you!' 'You're tiny, my hands are massive in comparison! With the tutor's encouragement I decided to trust myself and worked gently on the muscles and joints of her jaw and neck. All the while, I was relieved to see, she was very happy and let me work on her without a peep. I hardly felt like I had done anything to her yet when her parents brought her in for her second appointment they were delighted to tell me that she was feeding perfectly and had stopped crying! I was amazed, relieved and very excited, babies are so much fun to help.
Does your baby need adjusting?
Since then I've seen a lot of babies in practice. The most rewarding thing for me is to look after a lady before, during and after her pregnancy (look out for my next blog on how I help aches and pains during pregnancy) and to have the honour of checking her new born baby when they arrive.
All you have to do is notice whether your baby seems uncomfortable in certain positions. Notice if your baby has any asymmetry in their face and skull. I look at how even their eyes are, if one is larger than the other or if they have a tendency to hold one eye more closed than the other. If they prefer to turn their head in one direction only, particularly if it looks uncomfortable for them to turn one way can be an indicator that something is preventing normal movement in their neck and back.
Common things parents tell me is that they're very fidgety and wriggly, they have difficulty latching on and feeding, difficulty sleeping. Often babies will squirm and cry in specific positions, you will get a feeling that there is something that's bothering them, often it is their spine.
A Baby's Body Changes More in One Day Than an Adult's Can In One Month.
Baby's are fascinating, when we make a correction to a bone in their spine that has gone forwards and cannot correct itself (because there are no muscles or combination of muscles to pull it back again) that segment can function and move normally again. The irritation in the muscles and joints often disappears immediately and typically you will notice them being able to lye peacefully on their backs for a nappy change or in your arms for a cuddle.
My husband, Ady and I went to visit friends with their 12 week old baby boy in Dartmoor last weekend. I was holding baby Walter in front of me and although he was happy, every now and again he would keep arching his back and bumping his head on my chest. I felt his spine and noticed an obvious point at which light pressure caused him discomfort. With his parents permission, of course, I adjusted his one vertebrae and he immediately stopped arching and twitching about in my arms.
I always think how significant fixing that one little bone is in a person that is only 12 weeks old. His body couldn't realign it so without being corrected (like so many in your and my body at that age) that distortion would stay with him as he grows. It certainly makes me appreciate how long it takes to get an adult's spine better if they had an injury as a growing child. I talk more about this in the Childhood Injuries blog post.
A baby's body will change more in one day than ours ever can in one month, that's why babies (the majority of them) are so easy to fix.
Not all individuals are quite so straight forward. Babies are more complicated if they have had a traumatic pregnancy and/or birth, I will discuss birth trauma in a future blog post.
The best thing to do if you're not sure whether your baby has something I can help them with or not is to give me a call and we will chat about it.