Updated: Jun 15
"So, I'm really screwing my baby up, huh?"
That's a real quote, from an actual first-time dad, in our practice.
Unfortunately, babies do not come with an instruction manual. Many parents and grandparents learn about raising kids on the fly. We do what we know to do... unless someone tells us otherwise.
Most babies will have their diaper changed close to 3,000 times in just the first year of life. No one likes doing it, but it is something that needs to get done. We take for granted that it is pretty easy to do, and we don't give it a second thought.
How is baby poop essential for mom and dad?
Elimination serves an obvious need for the baby, but there is also some benefit for mom and dad. We can gather a lot of information from a baby's poop.
The color can tell us the fat content that mom's milk is producing.
The consistency, lets us know how well a baby is digesting and absorbing food.
Mucous can tell us that the baby's digestive system had a harder time digesting and incorporating some of the nutrients in the milk.
Mom has scent receptors that change her milk to best support the nutrient needs of the baby. Meaning, when mama smells the diaper, her body CHANGES her milk to better feed her child.
If we take a closer look at the actual process of changing the diaper, there are something most new parents and even some seasoned parents should consider. There are things you may be doing to compromise the communication of your baby's brain on the changing table.
"That's how my mom did it"
Traditionally, when changing a diaper, we lift the baby's legs straight up toward the ceiling or their head. That allows us to get the old diaper out, clean up the mess, and not get the changing table dirty.
Then we put the child's legs down and get a diaper. Next, we lift the child's legs straight up, again, put the new diaper underneath, and voila, we are all done.
But, we need to consider what's happening to the baby's spine and nervous system as this happens.
How does this affect the baby?
The nervous system and spine are intricately related. When the spine is irritated, the nerves that exit from that area become irritated.
Now for a quick lesson in spinal anatomy. The spinal nerves exit from the spinal cord, pass behind the intervertebral disc, and then proceed to the tissues, organs, and glands they control.
When the spine is bent forward, the discs move backward. So, by bending a baby's legs to change their diaper, we put an enormous amount of pressure on the nerves of the low back. The fulcrum for this movement and, therefore, most of the stress occurs at T12 or L1.
The nerves in this area go to the small and large intestines. Therefore, with nerve irritation at this location, the digestive system will not work optimally. (i.e. constipation)
This nerve irritation will affect the absorption of nutrients, elimination of waste, sleep/wake cycles, and the immune system. Many times we have seen babies with colic, or constipation, or failure to thrive have nerve irritation in this area. So what can a parent do?
Pediatric chiropractic care can help.
Neurologically based pediatric chiropractic care focuses on optimizing your child's potential. We recognize the magnitude of stress in our children and observe its harmful effects on development. One of the most significant repercussions of this stress is a vertebral subluxation.
Vertebral subluxations irritate the nervous system and put the body in a fight or flight response. This stress response takes away from the body's ability to grow and develop.
In our office, we utilize state of the art technology to assess the state nervous system. We determine what affects the stress has had on the body, the location of subluxations, and then create a plan of action to guide your child to maximize their development through specific chiropractic adjustments to unwind the nervous system.
How should you do it? (Check out our video on Facebook!)
To properly change a baby's diaper, you should roll, not lift. When rolling, you equally share the stress rather than focusing it on a specific area.
After you open the baby's diaper and clean them, roll the baby towards you by bringing her pelvis towards you. Pull out the diaper and lay the baby on her back. Then when putting a new diaper on, open the diaper, roll her towards you again, and put the diaper in its proper location on her bottom. After laying her on her back, roll her pelvis away from you and pull the other side of the diaper out. Then attach the diaper, and you are done!
Although this method requires more work and is less intuitive, it will help your child tremendously. To see this technique in action, watch the video below.
If you think this information can benefit someone you know and love, please share it with them. Our office is located in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. If you are in the area and would like to schedule a consultation and neurological evaluation, contact us at (904) 718-6330. We would love to connect with you!