Natural Remedies for Colic

Colic-Children

First and foremost, what is colic and how do you know if your baby has colic?  All babies cry.  So what is normal and what is not?

Colic typically presents itself within 2-3 weeks following birth.  Most commonly presents as a constantly irritable baby of unknown cause. More specifically, if your baby cries for 3 hours a day, for at least 3 days a week, for 3 consecutive weeks your baby most likely has colic. Some common symptoms of colic include:

  • intense crying episodes
  • inconsolable crying episodes with no apparent trigger
  • arching of back, clenching of fists, recoiling to touch, and other physical/postural changes

So what do you do?  Don’t fret there are a lot of natural remedies to try before having to go the medication route. One of the first things to do is to try and figure out the cause.  Some of the causes include:

  • Antibiotic Use during pregnancy, labor, or shortly after birth by mom and/or baby resulting in a gut issue.
  • Birth Trauma resulting in nerve interference.
  • Lactose Intolerance.  Studies show that cow’s milk protein found in milk based formulas or in the milk of dairy-consuming, breastfeeding, mothers, is by far the greatest cause of colic.
  • Immature digestive system
  • Allergy/sensitivity to certain foods the baby or mom is eating
  • A bad latch while breast feeding (La Leche League can help!)
  • Baby not getting enough sleep.

Once you have figured out the cause of the issue, colic is a lot easier to treat.  Still unsure?  Start by getting you on a good refridgerated adult probiotic and your child on an infant probiotic like this one (both of which we carry at the office).  Probiotics help build up you and your child’s digestive system by loading up the digestive tract with healthy bacteria to help digest their food better.  This is especially helpful for those mom’s or babies that had to take antibiotics during pregnancy, labor or shortly afterwards.  Next, look up the elimination diet, which on this website Dr. Sear’s helps mom’s figure out which foods they are eating are irritating their baby.  One of the most common causes of colic are sensitivities to certain food groups.  The most popular being dairy, soy, chocolate, caffeine, spicy foods, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. According to Dr. Linda Palmer, when looking at food sensitivities, “The chief source of colic in 67% of infants was found to be an intolerance to cow’s milk protein.  Additionally relief from colic was gained by additionally eliminating soy and corn (hydrolysate formula), increasing this figure to 84%.”

Another great recommendation is to allow the baby time to burp.  As you are getting the hang of having a newborn, especially first time mothers, it is common to not give the baby adequate time to burp, which will lead the baby to be gassy and irritable.  How often should you burp a colicky newborn? It is recommended with bottle deeding that parents try to burp their baby after every ounce.  Alternatively, with a breastfed baby attempt to burp after they come off the breast for a rest or when they complete draining the breast.

Herbal teas and colic mixtures are another natural way to help combat colic symptoms.  “Weleda” and “Holle” are great tea formulas that can be taken by the mother and baby once cooled through a bottle.  Fennel is also another great herbal option.  A study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that fennel seed oil eliminated colic in 65% of infants without side effects.

Another great option would be get your child to a chiropractor.  Chiropractic adjustments are a proven effective technique to help combat colic symptoms.  A lot of the time, colicky babies have a disturbance in their cervical and thoracic spine’s that can be alleviated easily by a chiropractic adjustment. According to one of the many studies found in the Journal of Manipulative Physio Therapy, parents typically see results within 3 treatments, which stabilize within four weeks.   Another study found out of 316 infants over a period of 2 weeks of treatment (usually 3 visits), 94% of the infants showed a successful rating when compared with the other group of babies.  The other group of babies medicated for treatment using Dimethicone drops, improved by only 38%.

Lastly, another great way to help combat the gas associated with colic is to get your child on his or her stomach will help to alleviate the discomfort your baby is feeling.  You can also hold your child across your forearm to offer some therapeutic relief for the child.  There are also some great massage technique’s to help relieve gas that is associated with colic which you can ask your chiropractor how to perform.

 

Additional Reading

 

 

Tylenol and Kids? What are the risks?

otc_aisle-300x2251

Many of us have used Tylenol growing up as kids for headaches, fevers, aches, and pains.  Now as we have gotten older and have kids of our own, our pediatricians are still telling us to use Tylenol on our kids for when they have fevers, but is it safe?

Today, more and more research has been coming out linking the increase risk in asthma in children who are given Tylenol.  A study recently published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found a 29% increase in the likelihood of an infant who used paracetamol having asthma at age 3 and at age 7 years.  Paracetamol is another name for Acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin, and many other brands. According to the CDC, every year asthma is responsible for14.2 million physician office visits, 1.8 million emergency-department visits, 439,000 hospital stays, and more than 3,500 deaths.  And yet, a drug that increase the risk of asthma in children by 2, 3 and 5 times depending on the frequency of use continues to be sold and prescribed to parents unaware of the potential risks.

In the ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) study, researchers looked at more than 205,000 children, ages 6 to 7, in 31 countries and found that acetaminophen use for fever in the first year of life was linked to increased risk of asthma symptoms in children 6 to 7 years old. Current use of acetaminophen was also linked to increased risk of asthma symptoms.

Tylenol use doing pregnancy also has its risks. Its use has been linked to an increase in the risk of their child developing ADHD.  According to the research article in JAMA Pediatrics in February, “Children whose mothers took acetaminophen while pregnant had up to a 40 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, according to the research, which involved more than 64,000 Danish mothers and their children. The kids were born between 1996 and 2002.” The study further stated, “”The strongest effects were seen when a woman said she had taken it for six weeks or more, and even more strongly at 20 weeks or more,” Ritz added. “We always thought acetaminophen is kind of harmless and not so bad to take during pregnancy, and probably it is, if you take it once or twice. But if you take it repeatedly, you see these risks creeping up.”

The common rebuttal theme I have found doing my research was that there was no clear path from taking Tylenol to these conditions.  They kept on stating that more trials and research were necessary in order to find that link and that until they do find that link we should continue taking the Tylenol as is.  To me that sounds like the company grasping as straws to keep from losing the $1 plus billion dollars they make annually on the product.

So what do you do?  For one, I would only use Tylenol or acetaminophen as a last resort.  If your child has a low grade fever, let their body do their job.  Fevers are a natural way your body fights off bacteria and viruses.  You can read my previous article about fevers here.  Additionally, do your own research.  Don’t just listen to what your doctors are saying to you.  Just because they say something doesn’t always mean they are right or that it is right for your child.  There are a lot of great homeopathic remedies for fever reducers. Here are some articles below that I found on the topic:

  1. WEBMD asthma risk
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19696122
  3. http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/4/706
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/sep/16/paracetamol-rising-childhood-asthma-rates
  5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/tylenol-overdose_n_3976991.html
  6. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/108/4/1020
  7. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/news/20140224/use-of-acetaminophen-in-pregnancy-tied-to-higher-adhd-risk-in-child
  8. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm315497.htm
  9. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/acetaminophen/art-20046721
  10. http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/08/13/acetaminophen.may.double.asthma.risk/index.html

 

Going Barefoot (Both you and your kids)

Barefoot Kids

When are children are born the bones in their feet have yet to fully develop.  In fact, they are just balls of cartilage that as the age will grow into 28 distinct bones of the adult foot that will be the root of their bodies movement.  Today, kids are put in shoes all to often and they are put in shoes that allow no movement or growth impeding their foot’s natural development.  Improper footwear will alter the child’s natural gait and make it harder for the children to improve balance and learn how to walk, run, jump, and do other natural movements as the age.  More and more parents today are putting children in cute shoes that offer no movement or bending in the sole whatsoever allowing for no movement in the forefoot.  In order to prevent problems later on, we need to start being more aware of what footwear we are putting our kids in.  Going barefoot more is one option that is easy to accomplish and the best way to promote a more natural development for your child’s foot.

Kids going barefoot is essential for the arch development. The critical period of the development of the arch occurs before the age of six. Walking outdoors offers natural messages to children’s feet as they walk on different sizes pebbles and uneven ground. The resistance and inconsistency nature offers integrates reflexes in the foot and forms strong arches. Going barefoot out in nature helps to develop normal gait patterns, balance, and tolerance of touch in the feet, all of which provide a strong foundation for confident and fluid movement. According to Katy Bowman, “Shoes alter human movement.  Many of the ailments we suffer from, musculoskeletally speaking, are a result of our dependence on footwear and the strain on the ligaments and plantar fascia from decades of muscle atrophy.  If you can start a kid off with a preference to minimal footwear it saves time and degeneration.”

Nervous to let your kids go barefoot?  Try minimalist shoes instead  so that the arches of the feet can still receive sensory input. A great, cheap option are water shoes. (Not a bad idea for you to try it too, because it is beneficial for everyone😃) Additionally, minimalist shoes are great to wear when you are not in the comfort of your own home and are worried that you kids will step on something sharp.  Vivobarefoot offers some great toddler shoes starting at 18 months.  What about shoes for kids that are not on 2 feet yet?  Shoes then are basically just for warmth, but other than that they shouldn’t be wearing any.  Crawling becomes more difficult to master when shoes are on.  It is very important for children to master the art of crawling before walking because according to Tracey Byrne (a podiatrist specializing in podopaediatrics) “Crawling stimulates the brain to develop convergence of vision; people who skip this phase as babies may find it extremely difficult to learn to read and write as children. And in the case of children who crawl backwards to begin with, shoes can put extra pressure on the structures of the foot and leg.”

 

Here are some great books to learn more about it:

1.) Balanced and Barefoot, by Angela J. Hanscom

2.) Whole Body Barefoot, by Katy Bowman  who you can follow on Instagram @nutritiousmovement and her website is www.nutritiousmovement.com

Pregnancy and Depression

pregnancy-depression-200

According to The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology , 14-23% of pregnant women suffer from depression.  Women suffering from depression usually have the following symptoms that persist for 2 weeks or more:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits

There are many treatments that are commonly used to treat depression during pregnancy, such as psychotherapy, light therapy, support groups, and medication.  Treatment with medication typically involved SSRI’s or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Lately, research has been coming out against medicating for depression during pregnancy because it has been linked to a lot of problems in newborns, such as physical malformations, heart problems, low birth weight, pulmonary hypertension, and an increase in the likelyhood to give birth to a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  This evidence scares me, so I wanted to present moms with a more natural option of treatment to go along with their support groups, light therapy, and psychotherapy.

So what typically causes depression anyway?  One of the recurring themes I have been reading in my research is that chronic inflammation is the culprit. According to studies found in JAMA (1) (2), “Higher levels of inflammation dramatically increase the risk of developing depression.  And the higher the levels of inflammatory marks, the worse the depression.”  In more detail, inflammatory cytokines (inflammation) increase the breakdown of serotonin, which means our impression should not be that depressed people are unable to make enough serotonin.  The problem with depression is that a chronic inflammatory state is associated with a loss of normal serotonin levels.  This means that one of the major natural treatments for depression would be to reduce chronic inflammation.

One way to reduce inflammation is encourage patients to exercise more.  Studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as Zoloft.  Exercise naturally increases serotonin levels and decreases cortisol (inflammatory) levels.  Another way to help reduce inflammation is adequate sleep, around 8 hours a night, which is essential in allowing your body the time to heal and rejuvenate for the next day.  Your body and mind will then have a better chance at handling the next day’s stressors more effectively.  Next, you can  reduce inflammation by consuming a diet of anti-inflammatory foods such as lots of dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, collared greens, broccoli, cabbage) and adding anti-inflammatory spices to your meals (turmeric, curcumin, cayenne pepper, ginger, oregano, curry, basil, coriander, cumin).  The more vegetables you add to your diet the better.  Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are also anti-inflammatory.  You can add teas to your diet as well (ginger, herbal rest tea or sleepy time tea, white tea, etc) Basically you want to stay away from processed foods with sugar or grains.  According to research, people that consumed a Mediterranean-type diet, rich in healthy, anti-inflammatory fats and proteins, enjoy significantly lower rates of depression.  Next, make sure you are taking your prenatal multivitamin, probiotics, magnesium (150 mg), fish oil (2 grams), and vitamin D3 (400o IUs).  All of these supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation.   Lastly, chiropractic adjustments are another added benefit.  Not only do the adjustments cause you to be in less pain, but it will also elevate your mood because you will feel better and be able to do more things that you like to do.

Resources and/or further reading:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Food coloring

130610-food-dye-health-color-wheel

One of the most hidden dangers in our foods are food dyes.  Who would think that an addition of a little color could do so much harm?  Unfortunately, more and more research has come out about how harmful they are and especially to our children who are growing at an exponential rate at this time in their lives. Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2 and Green 3, –which include some of the most commonly used artificial food colorings–have all been identified as being, or being contaminated with, potential cancer-causing chemicals, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. And Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are known to trigger reactions in those with allergies.

Did you know that food dyes in Europe require a warning label stating that “consumption may have an adverse affect on activity and attention in children”?  The FDA has yet to admit that food coloring has been linked to hyperactivity it children, but the research is finding otherwise.  Furthermore, according to the FDA, Yellow No. 5 can cause an allergic reaction for one out of every 10,000 people. The amount of dye the FDA has deemed acceptable for daily intake, or ADI, is five milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day) for Yellow No. 5 and 3.75 mg/kg bw/day for Yellow No. 6. An April 2015 study looked at how much dye was in recommended servings of processed foods; it found Kraft Macaroni & Cheese contained 17.6 milligrams of Yellow Nos. 5 or 6 per one-cup serving. Because the chemicals are so similar in color, and thus difficult to tell apart in measurements, the researchers chose the dye that allowed the highest concentration. For a child weighing 30 kilograms (about 65 pounds), this translates to 0.59 mg/kg bw per serving.

So what do you do?  Start to get better at reading your foods labels, and whenever available opt for the more natural option.  One example, instead of buying craft macaroni and cheese or Earth’s Best brand both of which has yellow #5 and #6, choose Annie’s brand which uses real cheese AND no food coloring.  Another thing you can do is stay away from the processed foods, and stick to the outsides of the super market.  Remember you are what you eat.
When baking at home you can make your own food coloring with natural ingredients that are found in your pantry or fridge.  The list below gives you some options for each color:
  • Red – pure beet juice, pure pomegranate juice, beet powder
  • Orange-pure carrot juice, paprika
  • Yellow – ground turmeric, saffron
  • Green – spinach powder, matcha powder, parsley juice, liquid chlorophyll
  • Blue –  red cabbage or any of the purple colorants listed below plus baking soda
  • Purple – pure blueberry juice
Here is a great site that gives you recipes on how to make your own food coloring:

Don’t have time to make your own food coloring, but would like to use something more natural?  You can find some on amazon, but remember natural food dyes do not use petroleum as a preservative so natural food dyes will not be a vibrant as the store bought brands.

Want to learn more, visit these sites below to find out more about the hidden dangers of food coloring:

Myopia

kids eyewear

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness or the difficulty in seeing objects in the distance has become alarmingly common.  Did you know that 96.5% of Seoul boys have been diagnosed with Myopia?  1.4 million people, that’s 22.6% of the population are affected by myopia.  The incidence of myopia has increased 50% in the United  States over the last 50 years, and up 80% in China.  These are alarming statistics that are being overlooked at finding the cause to why this is occurring.

According to nature.com, “The modern rise in myopia mirrored a trend for children in many countries to spend more time engaged in reading, studying or — more recently — glued to computer and smartphone screens. This is particularly the case in East Asian countries, where the high value placed on educational performance is driving children to spend longer in school and on their studies. A report last year3 from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that the average 15-year-old in Shanghai now spends 14 hours per week on homework, compared with 5 hours in the United Kingdom and 6 hours in the United States.”

Additionally, another factor that has been found to be correlated is the amount of time children spent outside.  In 2007, Donald Mutti and his colleagues at the Ohio State University College of Optometry in Columbus reported the results of a study that tracked more than 500 8 and 9 year olds in California who started out with healthy vision.  After five years, one in five of the children had developed myopia, and the only environmental factor that was strongly associated with risk was time spent outdoors. “We thought it was an odd finding,” recalls Mutti, “but it just kept coming up as we did the analyses.” A year later, Rose and her colleagues arrived at much the same conclusion in Australia. After studying more than 4,000 children at Sydney primary and secondary schools for three years, they found that children who spent less time outside were at greater risk of developing myopia.

So what can you do?  Again, the biggest and best thing you can do for your children is to get them outside.  The more time the better.  Additionally, decreasing the amount of time you let your child on computers, playing playstation or xbox or whatever game system they have, or the amount of time they spend looking at their phones.  You could declare certain times technology free times, go on walks or bike rides with your family, play catch, grow a garden, go to a park or beach.  Obviously, if you know me and my family by now you know we love to get outside because the more I learn and the more I read, getting outdoors is the best thing for you and your family.

 

 

 

Magnesium Sulfate

epsom-salts

Magnesium Sulfate otherwise known as Epsom Salt has a lot of great benefits to you and your children.  How can you get these benefits?  Try adding some to your children’s baths (and yours if you are lucky enough to take baths unlike me at the moment).  Some of those benefits include:

  • sound sleep
  • promotes a feeling of relaxation and well being
  • stress relief
  • body detox and purification
  • improved digestion process and improved absorption of nutrients
  • prevention and ease of migraine headaches
  • improved nerve function
  • pain and muscle cramp relief
  • improved formation of joint proteins
  • stronger bones
  • improved cardiovascular health
  • prevention of heart arrhythmia’s
  • improved oxygen use
  • balancing of electrolyte levels
  • improved ability of the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.

 

 

 

Folic acid vs Folate

kale1

Do you know the difference between the two vitamins above?  Most people commonly interchange these two vitamins, medical professions included, without knowing that there is a small but very significant difference between the two.

Folate is a group of water soluble B vitamins made up of tetrahydrafolates also known as B9.  It is the vitamin that is found naturally in foods such as spinach, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, beets, collard greens, kale, asparagus, turnip greens, broccoli, mustard greens, lentils, garbanzo beans, and parsley to name a few.  Folate is necessary during rapid cell division and growth. In fact, pregnancy is known to actually double the need of dietary folates.

Folic Acid is the synthetic form (does not occur naturally) of B9 that is oxidized and found in dietary supplements and food fortification.  According to an article found in pubmed, humans exposure to folic acid was nonexistent until 1943 when it was chemically synthesized and then later introduced as a mandatory additive for food fortification in 1998 to help aid in the decrease of Neural Tube Defects in babies.  Unfortunately, many did not take into account how much processed foods people would eat, and therefore taking a folic acid supplement caused there to be a build up of it in our blood.  This has lead researchers to find many studies linking the build up of unmetabolized (not broken down) folic acid in the blood to an increase in the chance of certain cancers. (more studies here and here and here )

So what is my advice?  Number one, make sure you are eating a healthy diet full of all those delicious dark leafy greens, as you can see cauliflower and beets are also a great addition to add.  Secondly, ditch that folic acid supplement.  You are already getting enough of folic acid in the food fortification process.  Lastly, if you are not pregnant, trying to get pregnant or not breastfeeding, you do not need to be taking a folate supplement.  If you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding you should be taking a FOLATE supplement.  You should be getting an average of 800-1200 mcg of folate a day, so depending on your dietary intake I would recommend taking around 600-800 mcg of Folate/day.  Some popular or good brands include Metagenics (we sell this brand at the office), Designs for Health, Solgar, and Pure Encapsulations to name a few.

Why I don’t recommend rice cereal

image1

People are always asking what to start their baby on when they start solids. A common thing I get asked about is Rice cereal.  Rice cereal has really no nutritional benefit what-so-ever.  It purely is just adding calories to your babies diet.  Additionally, there have been studies showing how rice products have high levels of arsenic in it.  From Consumer Reports:

Arsenic not only is a potent human carcinogen but also can set up children for other health problems in later life.

Following our January investigation, “Arsenic in Your Juice,” which found arsenic in apple and grape juices, we recently tested more than 200 samples of a host of rice products. They included iconic labels and store brands, organic products and conventional ones; some were aimed at the booming gluten-free market.

The results of our tests were even more troubling in some ways than our findings for juice. In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern. Moreover, the foods we checked are popular staples, eaten by adults and children alike. See the chart summarizing results of our tests for arsenic in rice or rice products.

Though rice isn’t the only dietary source of arsenic—some vegetables, fruits, and even water can harbor it—the Environmental Protection Agency assumes there is actually no “safe” level of exposure to inorganic arsenic.

Another question I get asked a lot is when should you introduce solids?   I do not recommend adding any solids until at least 6 months of age.  There are even sources that say to wait until children are around 1. Think of it this way, food before one is just for fun.  So try not to stress over getting your child to eat.  If he or she is not showing any interest in it, do not force the issue.  One big thing you want to make sure of is that your baby can sit up on his/her own.  If you breast feed, it is always recommended to nurse your baby first because it is your babies single most important food until they turn one.

What do I recommend as a first food?   With Harper, we started with Avocados.  You can mash up avocados pretty easily and they actually are a great super food full of good fats and nutrients!  As with any first food, you want to really milk it down.  Whether you breast feed or use formula add a little of each of those to your introductory foods.  The better the baby gets, the thicker you make the food.  You can even mash up the avocado and put it in the babies bottle, just be sure to use a nipple that allows a stronger flow because of the thickened milk.  Below is a list of foods that I would recommend.  They say that you should introduce one food every 2 weeks.

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet Potato
  3. Butternut Squash
  4. Bananas
  5. Green Beans
  6. Carrots
  7. Egg yolk
  8. Bone Broth

***It is important to note that if you or your family has a history of any food allergies, it is better to be safe and not try any of those foods until your child is at least one.  What we did with Harper was when we knew we were going to go to the pediatrician that day we would introduce foods that are common allergies like almond butter, eggs, strawberries, fish, etc.

***The American Academy of Pediatrics***

  • “Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
    • Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age. Preterm and low birth weight infants and infants with hematologic disorders or infants who had inadequate iron stores at birth generally require iron supplementation before 6 months of age. Iron may be administered while continuing exclusive breastfeeding.
    • Unique needs or feeding behaviors of individual infants may indicate a need for introduction of complementary foods as early as 4 months of age, whereas other infants may not be ready to accept other foods until approximately 8 months of age.
    • Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk.
    • During the first 6 months of age, even in hot climates, water and juice are unnecessary for breastfed infants and may introduce contaminants or allergens.
    • Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother, especially in delaying return of fertility (thereby promoting optimal intervals between births).
    • There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
    • Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow’s milk but should receive iron-fortified infant formula.”

Bumbo Seats and Jumpers

Baby Sitting Up and Smiling

I often get asked at when it is OK to put babies in bumbo seats and bouncers.  The big concern is if they are putting them in too soon and/or what are the detrimental effects of putting them in too soon.

My advice is to wait until they can sit up on their own (meaning unassisted and for at least one minute).  The average age is anywhere between 6-9 months.  When a baby is placed involuntarily in a seated position before he or she is able to sit up on their own, the body is impeded from developing necessary tone for creeping and crawling.  Many babies will develop a less-than-optimal movement pattern of bottom scooting instead of crawling to try to get to where they want to go.  This has been found to not be optimal for the joints or development of lower body and torso tone.  Additionally, it hampers the upper tone and chest strength related to speech and language development.

Furthermore, babies have the ability to arrive in a seated or standing position on their own if we let them have floor time to explore and strengthen their developmental movement patterns.  Skipping a step in the pattern is not helpful, as each pattern connects to brain and social-emotional developments, as well as speech, language, and developing stereoscopic (depth) vision.  By encouraging and being present with your baby, it helps him or her to develop a strong sense of body and self awareness and a deep trust and attachment with his or her parents and caregivers.

So what can you do instead to help aid development of necessary tone?  Have the baby on his or her tummy as much as possible when he or she is awake.  (tummy time is an easy way to help combat Torticollis along with chiropractic adjustments) Once the baby starts to elevate their lower legs and feet you can start to prop their arms up by placing a rolled up towel or breast feeding pillow under their chest to help them find their feet and engage with the floor.  This helps to elongate the fetal “c” curve and start to develop the natural form of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical curves.  Additionally, it is helping develop muscle tone and strength in the legs all the way through the trunk,or core, of the body.  Next, you can start to place objects out of the babies reach to help build up their arm and shoulder strength.

On a final note, until the baby can sit up on their own I would recommend to instead use assisted devices such as the moby wrap or ergo carrier.  This allows you to do more while giving the baby the ability to explore his or her surroundings instead of putting them up in a bumbo seat or jumper when their body is not ready for it.