Baby’s Spinal Development

posted by Drax @ 9:25 AM
March 30, 2011
A Baby’s Spinal Development affects them for life.  How strong the bones are, how symmetrical the vertebrae are and how adaptable to the environment and the activities that a person subjects their body to, are all affected by spinal development in early life.  As an adult some of your back pain can be traced back to infancy.  If you have children, give them a fighting chance and start them off with a healthy back.This is the start of a multi part series on babies and their backs.
 
Baby’s Spinal Development – the case for carrying your baby in your arms

Our spines are not perfectly straight, even though they may appear so from the front or back. When you look at a person from the side, four slight curves are visible, forming an elongated S shape.  These curves help keep us flexible and balanced.  They also help absorb stresses placed on our bodies through our daily activities, such as walking, running and jumping.

We weren’t born with these curves.  Normal curves of the spine develop gradually, as a means of adapting to gravity.  At birth, babies are in a state of flexion, still curled up, with their spines in a natural, long C-shaped (convex) curve.  At first, a baby does not have the strength to hold his head up or the balancing curves in his spine to do so.  But gradually, as the muscles in his neck get stronger, he begins to lift his heavy head against gravity and a curve starts to develop in his neck (the cervical curve) to help balance his head.  When your baby starts to creep and crawl, the lower back (lumbar curve) and the muscles that support it develop.  It takes about a full year for your baby to attain these curves in his spine.

The Stresses of Lying Flat

Laying your young infant flat on his back stretches the C-curved spine into a straight line, against its natural shape.  Research shows that keeping an infant’s spine straight is not a sound physiological position.  In addition to stressing the baby’s spine, it can also negatively influence the development of the baby’s hip joints.

Infants who lie frequently on their back in a stroller or infant seat may end up with plagiocephaly (deformed skulls, flattening on the back or the side) and deformed bodies with poor muscle tone.  Research backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that “with prolonged immobilization on a firm mattress or a flat bed (as in a stroller), the constant influence of gravity flattens the body surface against the mattress producing positional disorders and infants with decreased muscle tone.”

Existence in Containers

This does not mean that laying the baby flat for a couple of walks around the block in a stroller is going to wreak havoc on your baby’s physical development.  But the truth is that the average Western infant between 3 weeks and 3 months of age is carried little more than two and a half hours a day.  Babies spend most of their time in containers, such as car seats, cribs and strollers.  The West has diverged from eons of child rearing and we have gotten to the point of letting objects determine our babies’ sense of contact, rather than us.

Next time we’ll look at some more reasons to carry your baby and how to do it.

Just a reminder – it’s not too late to donate!  Dr. Dorothea is walking (really fast) for CMCC’s Chiropractic Education and Research on April 17.  Click here to go to Dr. Dorothea’s web page and you can see how she’s doing and donate on line.  If you want to donate, but not on line, please contact the office  at 604-864-8232 and we’ll be happy to help you.

If you’re looking for a holistic chiropractor Abbotsford is the place to look!  Dr. Dorothea McCallum has been practicing drug free, surgery free, hands on chiropractic for over 20 years. Dr. Dorothea McCallum provides General Chiropractic Care for people of all ages, Pre and Perinatal care for Moms and babies – Webster Technique Certified, Wellness Care and Coaching – Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP) and Custom Corrective Orthotics.

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