Newborn Care for Parents

Diapering

  • For spinal support, lift under the sacrum (buttocks) to place the diaper into position.  Never use his legs to lift your infant.  Older infants and toddlers can be gently rolled onto their sides.
  • Cloth diapers should be used as frequently as possible.  They prevent rashes that can be caused by using the chemically treated disposables and are healthier for the environment.  Consider a diaper service (ask for one as a baby gift).
  • Wash baby’s bottom with a warm wet cloth with oil squeezed on it.
  • For a skin wash, use a dilute vinegar and water mix.  This is very healthy for skin pH balance and is not too harsh for the baby’s delicate skin becoming used to a harsh environment.  Do not use soap!
  • Pure aloe gel is great for rashes – diaper, heat, etc.

Holding the Infant

  • Use full spinal support with neck support from the palm of your hand.
  • Maintaining hand support behind your infant’s head and neck while holding your baby upright against you so that her head cannot suddenly “whip” backward.

Picking up the Infant

  • Start with your infant lying on the back always.
  • Slide your hand and arm up from under the buttocks toward his head to support the spine, your fingers pointing toward his head.
  • Lift your baby up keeping the spine straight, and the head and neck fully supported.

Sleeping Positions

  • For spinal support, place your infant on his back or propped up on his side with a pillow behind him.
  • No stomach sleeping.  This causes a twisting and shearing effect on the growing bones of the spine, which can eventually cause asymmetry or one-sidedness of the vertebra.  As your child grows, this can lead to a permanent condition of Vertebral Subluxation and nerve irritation.
  • *PLEASE NOTE – stomach sleeping also blocks the breathing passage.
  • No pillows.  The infant’s neck and shoulder region has not developed extensively enough to warrant early usage.  Note that an ‘adult’ size pillow should not be used until after 12 years of age.

Car Seats

  • Keep your infant in the reclined position until he/she can support the head upright on their own
  • Use the neck supports for infants and children.
  • Parents:  watch your own spine when placing or removing your child from the seat.
  • For babies over 20 pounds, use a 5-point harness system for safety.
  • Alwaysuse the tether strap and tether bolt the car seat into your vehicle.
  • Infants should not be moved into a forward-facing toddler seat until they are at least one year of age and 20 lbs., as their neck muscles are not developed enough to withstand a whiplash type of injury.

Crawling

This stage of development is critical to create the cross-brain patterns that facilitate future co-ordination, and visual and learning functions, as well as normal neurological development.  Do not encourage your baby to walk first.

Breast/Bottle Feeding

1. Mothers

  • Use a good chair or rocker that gives you mid and low back support.  You may need to use pillows – a ‘wrap-around’ nursing pillow is ideal.
  • Prior to delivery, become accustomed to the placement (nut not usage) of a breast pump.  This will allow the father of the child the opportunity to bond through feeding and will also free up a portion of your time.
  • When feeding in the middle of the night, keep the lights low and don’t speak loudly to your infant while feeding.  This will prevent your baby from making a playtime at 2:00 AM!!

2. Infants

  • Place a pillow under your baby for support
  • Maintain a proper alignment of the infant’s spine with her neck, ensuring that there is no twisting or torquing between the neck and spine.  After the latch is established, bring the baby “tummy to tummy”, and keep your hand and arm along the baby’s back and head to ensure this position.
  • Always look for symmetry and alignment in the baby’s posture and spine.

Ambidexterity

  • By developing the left and right hand functions with your infant and toddler, you will create more normal musculature and symmetry (balance) of the spine and body.

Lifting and Carrying your Infant

  • Squat to lift and don’t always carry your child on the same hip, rather, centre your baby’s weight in the middle of your torso, the higher the better.
  • Use a sling to support both your baby and toddler.
  • Do not use ‘Snugglies’ or other infant carriers that spread your baby’s hips wide apart.  A ‘Baby Bjorn’ or ‘Baby Trekker” are the best infant carriers from a chiropractic perspective.

MISCELLANEOUS

Teething

  • use a frozen, twisted, wet washcloth, frozen teething toys, or rawhide
  • some combination homeopathic teething tablets, or chamomilla homeopathic pellets may be soothing for teething.
  • Neurological Stimulation
  • Visual – use black and white photos, objects and mobiles, and lots of close-up facial expressions
  • Auditory – classical music, new age music or natural sounds (environmental, ocean, heartbeats)

Toddler Postural Exam

check with your Doctor of Chiropractic for more information

Infant Spinal Development Exercise    (see enclosure)