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Healthy Baby Spinal Care

The growth of your baby’s body and brain is far greater than any other time throughout their lifespan. It is almost inconceivably rapid. For this reason we need to be aware of what is good for our babies and what is not.

Simple Tips to Promote Healthy Baby Spinal Care

Babies spines are naturally curved in a ‘C’ shape at birth (Schon 2007). It’s affectionately called the ‘fetal tuck’.

Babies muscles develop and strengthen as they begin to move more and more. By the time they are able to lie on their tummy and hold their head up, a different curvature in the spine begins to occur. Once the baby is crawling, then walking, the spine has developed to be like that of an adult ‘S’ curve, essential for balance and flexibility.

Having a ‘C’ shaped spine means it is comfortable for a tiny baby to sit in a cradled position, just not all the time, so variety is the key.

Slings are a great way to support that ‘C’ curve yet allow baby to squirm around normally. Always use a sling or carrier that keeps baby’s neck straight because the tucked in chin was fine in utero where the oxygen delivery system was via the umbilical cord. A clear unimpeded airway is critical for any baby, any time, no matter what position their body is in.

A sling that ensures a baby is supported in a way that puts no pressure on the little ‘C’ shaped spine, is one where the baby faces into the parent.

Car seats and capsules are fine for short times as well, but babies need to stretch and move around so it is best to keep car seats for car times and maybe a short carry, but NOT as the only means of transport when out of the car.

Sleeping on the Go

Always offer tummy time, it doesn’t have to be long, nor does it have to be on the floor. Tummy time helps strengthen the neck muscles so little by little they can grow.

Babies don’t always find lying on their back on a flat surface, comfortable. So if your baby is struggling to settle, give them a snuggle cuddle to help them relax so they can then lie flat.

Rule of thumb; the car seat, sling, pram are all fine for carrying baby for short times, but VARIETY is the key.

In a carrier, give plenty of cuddles with baby facing in towards parent ( with the legs flexed) to support the natural curvature of the spine. Also this position offers lovely skin to skin contact time as an added benefit.

 

Schon, R. (2007). Natural Parenting-Back to Basics in Infant Care. Evolutionary Psychology 5(1), pp. 102-183.

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