Natural Remedies for Colic

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

 

 

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Pregnancy and Depression

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bumbo Seats and Jumpers

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.

Correct Baby Wearing

After seeing a mom have her baby in a carrier that was bad for her child, I wanted to make sure you all knew what was good vs what was bad.  As you can tell from the photo above.  It is very important to choose an ergonomic carrier which will prevent you from contributing to hip dysplasia in your child.

Basically, you want to stay away from the dangling leg position in your carrier and look for more of a “M” position, which aids in the development of your child’s hips.  According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, baby’s with straight dangling legs in their carriers are at risk for developing hip dysplasia.

 

Chiropractic and Infant/Toddler Torticollis

What is Torticollis?

  • AKA “wry” neck or “twisted” neck
  • Is typically caused by a shortening of the SCM (sternocleidomastoid muscle) characterized by head tilt to one side with head rotation (chin points) to the other side.
  • If congenital, it can be present at birth or take up to 3 months to develop.
  • Most babies with torticollis have difficulty latching to one side more than the other, have a hard time looking to one side, or will rather look at you over their shoulder instead of turning to follow you with his or her eyes.
  • About 1 in 250 infants are born with Torticollis.

What are the typical causes of Torticollis?

  • Congenital
    • Use of forceps or vacuum assisted deliveries.
    • Long duration of time during delivery.
    • Cramping of the fetus in the uterus or abnormal positioning (ex. Breech position)
  • Acquired
    • Playtime
    • Participation in sports
    • Sleeping
    • Poor Posture

How chiropractic can help treat Torticollis?

  • Chiropractors use a very light force adjustment, which is safe and very effective.  Adjusting an infant is very different from adults.  Chiropractors will either use their finger (using no more force than one would put on their eyeball) or and adjusting tool known as an activator.

How long does it typically take to resolve?

  • Most infants usually see results after just one treatment or in a few days, but on average it typically will take around 3-4 treatments to see significant results.  It is recommended to then keep your child on a maintenance plan, where your chiropractor will check your child 1x/month.

Exercises you can do at home to help alleviate (please do not hesitate to ask me to demonstrate at the office):

  • Tummy Time!
  • Football hold
  • Exercise Ball
  • Resisted hip flexion (pushing baby’s feet to chest by putting pressure on baby’s heals) while baby is lying on their back.

Why should you get your baby’s torticollis treated?

  • Research has found that untreated torticollis can lead to developmental delays, vision problems,  and scoliosis.

Additional Research showing the effectiveness of chiropractic and treating torticollis in children:

 

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Chiropractic care in pregnancy is an essential ingredient to your prenatal care choices.  Preexisting but unnoticed imbalances in your spine and pelvis become stressed during pregnancy.  These pronounced discomforts make it difficult to perform routine daily activities.

A large percent of all pregnant women experience back discomfort and/or pain during pregnancy.  This is due to the rapid growth of the baby and interferences to your body’s normal structural adaptations to that growth.

Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy.   There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care during pregnancy.  Chiropractic is a safe, natural, and effective treatment for you to feel your best during pregnancy and be ready for your best birth!

Here are a list of complaints we commonly treat during pregnancy:

  • Mid Back Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Leg Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Lower Abdominal stretching pain
  • Breech Baby (Webster Technique)
  • Rib Pain/Costochondritis
  • Ankle/Foot Pain
  • Supportive Taping Procedures for the growing belly
  • SI joint pain

Aside from helping with the discomforts of pregnancy, there are three main reasons why every pregnant woman should see a chiropractor:

  1. Chiropractic Care helps provide structural balance and stability for the mother, resulting in a more comfortable pregnancy.
  2. Research studies have shown that pregnant mothers under chiropractic care during their pregnancy tend to have a shorter labor with less medical interventions. “A retrospective review of statistics reported that primigravida women who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times.”
  3. By supporting better function in the mother’s body, chiropractic care can help to create a healthier and more comfortable in-utero  environment for the newborn, helping them to get a better start to life.  In fact, research suggests that there is a strong link between the baby’s experience in the in-utero environment and his or her lifelong health potential.

For further reading on Chiropractic  care during pregnancy visit these sites below:

 

Natural Ways to Combat Ear Infections

Now that a lot of my friends and I are mothers, I hear a lot about kids coming down with ear infections.  When children are young, their bodies are still developing.  A lot of the time when a child gets an ear infection it is because the fluid in their ears are not draining properly.  One way to help the ears drain properly is to get your child checked by a chiropractor to see if they have an upper cervical (neck) restriction.  When there is an upper cervical (neck) restriction, the fluid in the ears can not drain properly, so the fluid pools.  Now every day we are constantly fighting off bacterial and viruses that we didn’t even know about because our bodies are amazing at naturally fighting off infection.  If that fluid in the ear can not drain, it is basically a pool of fluid filled with bacteria.  (think of what your kid picks up on a daily basis, and how often his or her hands are touching around their face and ears).  Another way is to make sure you keep their immune system working at its prime.  Make sure your child is getting plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  Limit their sugar and processed food intake.  Make sure your child is taking a multivitamin and probiotic supplement (70% of your immune system is in your gut….we will get to that on another post).  Lastly, make sure they are drinking plenty of water (that doesn’t include juice) and getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night!

If you child does develop an ear infection there are many natural ways to treat them.  One way is by using garlic and mullein drops, which have natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  The brand we use is Wise Women Herbals.  Of course, we always recommend to have your child checked by a chiropractor to make sure her spine and body are working at its best to fight off infection.  Additionally, you can use WARM (not hot) compresses against the child’s ear for 10 minutes.  You can also raise their mattress so that it promotes better drainage. Lastly, if you are breastfeeding, breast milk is the ultimate cure all, and although it sounds strange put a few drops in the ear to help naturally combat the infection!

A promising study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicates that there is a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections. 332 children with chronic ear infections participated in the study. Each child, ranging in age from 27 days to 5 years, was given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results show that close to 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their initial visits. The six-month period included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks. Joan M. Fallon, D.C., the author of the study and the chiropractor who treated the children in the study, states that this pilot study can serve as a starting point from which the chiropractic profession can begin to examine its role in the treatment of children with chronic ear infections. She asserts that large-scale clinical trials need to be undertaken in the field.

Why do Children need Chiropractic?

Even a natural birthing process can be traumatic for your precious newborn. Dr. Ashley will gently check your baby, making sure that there are no effects from labor and delivery on your child’s heath. We feel it’s imperative for all children to be checked by a chiropractor throughout their childhood to ensure that the child’s nervous system and immune system are functioning optimally.

As your child continues to grow, we want to make sure they can develop properly. Birth trauma, improperly carrying your baby and excessive time in seats (car seats, bouncers, bumbos, jumpers, etc.) can cause spinal misalignments. These problems often present themselves as common childhood health complaints that include the ear, nose, throat, digestive issues, sleeping difficulty, and irritability. Learning to walk, repeated bumps and falls, sports, dance, texting and carrying heavy backpacks can all lead to spinal misalignments in children. Through chiropractic care, we can help your child feel great and function optimally so they can enjoy each year as they grow.

Children receive chiropractic care that is completely different than that of an adult. Our light, gentle adjustments are safe for babies and children. If you’ve seen us during your pregnancy, we’re happy to check your baby after they’re born to make sure their spines are in proper alignment.

Here are some benefits to pediatric chiropractic care:

1.) Improved Sleeping

2.) Improved behavior and attitude

3.) Improved Immune system function

4.) Some conditions proven to be alleviated by Chiropractic: ADHD, Colic, Asthma, Ear Infections, Bed Wetting, Falls, Acid and Silent Reflux

Your baby deserves to have the healthiest start.  Contact our office today to find out how we can help ensure their best future.  “If the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

Here is a great website to read more:

http://icpa4kids.org/About-the-ICPA/why-chiropractic-for-children.html