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Could This Simple Trick be a Colic Game Changer?

When I had my first baby I thought I understood that babies sometimes just cry. I was okay with that and pretty certain that when the time came I’d be cool, calm, and collected. I wasn’t prepared for the hormonal agony of a crying baby.

Colic 101

The fact is that many babies cry, A LOT, and there are a variety of theories out there as to why. Colic is one of the many terms associated with infant crying. The What to Expect website defines colic as “a catch-all term for problem crying in otherwise healthy babies”. The National Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome has coined the term “Period of Purple Crying” as part of its program to prevent the shaking and abuse of infants and educate parents and caregivers about infant crying. The program rejects the term colic because it sounds like it is an illness or a condition that is abnormal rather than a normal part of every infant’s development.

For what it’s worth my daughter wasn’t the most colicky baby ever. I’d say that her colic was mild, but the endless evening crying was still hell. I tried everything; increased burping, bicycling her legs, gripe water, warm baths, and on and on. She eventually outgrew it as babies tend to do and the next phase brought its own host of parenting trials.

And then a revelation.

Nearly two years later as I was preparing for baby number two I was determined to be better prepared for all those litte/big things that tripped me up as a first time mom. I was researching colic when I stumbled across this video featuring Dr. John Edwards of Mama’s Chiropractic Clinic in Florida. Dr. Edward’s theory is that the traditional method of diaper changing in which you hold a child’s ankles and lift their bottom causes strain on the nerve root connected to the intestines and that it is this dysfunction that causes colic. 

My Anecdotal Two Cents.

At the time I had never received chiropractic care and the sum of what I knew about it came from the neck cracker stereotype we see on television. The roll diaper change technique may not be as convenient, but honestly, if it meant preventing a colicky baby I was willing to be inconvenienced to any extent. We began using the roll technique with Tabitha while she was still in the hospital and continued until about five months and guess what? She never had colic. There was not one night of witching-hour screaming. Now can I say for sure that changing her on her side rather than her back was the reason? No. Perhaps my baby is just one of those completely non-fussy babies. What I can say is that if I have another, I will absolutely do the same thing and I would recommend it to anyone else with a newborn. 

Another Seacoast Mom Weighs In

Just days old this little baby receives a chiropractic adjustment for his colic symptoms.

While I was putting this piece together my friend Melissa, a fellow Seacoast mom who has just given birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy posted this pic with the caption, “Jacob loves Dr. Loni at In Touch Chiropractic! He has been a little fussy and gassy so I knew he needed an adjustment. Immediately he felt relief and even fell asleep on the table!” She says that she has used chiropractic care for her daughters in the past when they had need, but not as infants.  She said that she knew she wanted to bring Jacob to the chiropractor since he was born via c-section which leaves the baby without the benefits of squeezing that a baby gains via vaginal birth. “I think other moms should know the benefits of adjusting their children because it is preventative care. We tend to think of it as a solution when something bad happens. However, so many ailments can be either prevented or treated by caring for your spine health.”

Ask An Expert

An Interview With Dr. Briana Duga of Great Works Chiropractic in South Berwick.choosing the right chiropractor for your family can help you all be healthier

First can you give a little background about yourself and your experience with treating children?

I graduated from Life University in 2010 with honors for Doctor of Chiropractic. I’m a mom of 3 kids ages 10, 7 and 5. I have completed the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association 15-month module on Pregnancy, Pediatrics and Webster Technique and I see many children, babies, and moms in my practice. They are my favorite demographic to take care of. Moms make the world go around, and everyone wants their kids to be as healthy growing up as possible.

How valid is the technique Dr. Edwards shows in the video?

The technique is very valid. Our spinal cord and spinal nerves act as a highway. You have highway 95 ( the spinal cord) and an exit to Kittery (or your digestive system). When you continually stress the spine in a repetitive motion, the information coming out of that area of the spine is going to be compromised.

Is it something you think might be helpful?

Yes, I think that it is a very helpful way to not stress the Lumbar (low back). Especially if the parents remember to rotate the baby to both the left and the right sides.

Are there other methods parents can use to promote a healthy spine in our infants?

There are so many things that parents can do to help promote healthy spinal development. One thing that I see a lot is babies being encouraged to sit up before they have appropriate core strength. We see this in the form of Bumbo seats, play stations, walkers and jumpy things – anything that allows them to sit up for long periods before they are ready. Babies will move their bodies to the next level of physical fitness when they are ready. We are often too excited to see them advance in skills.

How safe is chiropractic care for babies?

So safe! Babies need to be adjusted differently than adults because they don’t have a mature spine. We use a technique called sustained contact where there is no thrust on the babies spine, just pressure in the joint pain. Sometimes I use my adjusting tool, called an activator on the lowest setting. I will also use vibration to get a joint to regain motions.

What are some symptoms that may signify your baby is in need of chiropractic care?

Babies and children don’t present to the Chiropractor with pain. Instead, they show up as other challenges. We see many children with ADHD, ear infections, colic, nursing issues, reflux, walking or hip issues, crawling problems, etc.

What should parents look for when selecting a chiropractor for their families?

A Chiropractor sees you much more frequently than your medical Primary Care doctor. Pick a Chiropractor that has the training you are looking for, and you feel like you have a good rapport with. Being able to have an open dialogue about alternative health care choices for your children makes for an informed parent who can then make the best choices for their children. Choose a child-friendly office if you want your children to get adjusted, too. They need to feel comfortable and welcomed.

What can a parent expect when taking their baby to the chiropractor?

When evaluating an infant or small child for Chiropractic care most of the valuable information is in the history. How was the birth? Are there nursing troubles? How are the baby’s BMs? What issues are the parents concerned about? Most Chiropractors don’t take x-rays on children. We may evaluate them for postural or neurological abnormalities.

Is there anything else you think parents should know about chiropractic care for their children? 

Chiropractic is really about balancing and healing ones body through accessing the nervous system, which is the body’s master control system. The goal of Chiropractic for any age group is to enable the body to heal and regulate itself better so it can function at its best. The same goes for children. There are so many windows that are open for a short time as a child’s body is growing and changing into its adult form. Sometimes we can make the most useful, healing and effective changes when the body is in one of those windows. For example, some babies have a flat back of their head. Our cranial bones move very much up until the age of 4 or 5, and then they are not as moveable. This is a great time to have cranial work done on your child to help mold their heads into the round shape they should be.
 

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