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Parenting with Chiropractic


From 0 tParenting 1o 3 in the blink of an eye. How quickly our little one has grown from a needy (though always characterful) newborn into a running, jumping, inquisitive, chatting, singing child. Yet I wonder who has changed more – her or me? Motherhood has been transformational.

Hard, overwhelming, joyous, love-filled and transformational. I think back to those early days of parenthood and acknowledge the journey we have been on. Beginning with those first days and weeks of breastfeeding constantly, having next to no sleep, finding a way through the haze of new parenthood, overcome with love and the need to protect through a blur of sleeplessness, when having a shower and eating a meal become a day’s major achievements.

Gone were our ideas of the baby sleeping though the night in a cot next or our bed and napping during the day in a Moses basket. This was not for her! I watched other babies drift off to sleep happily in their pushchair or cot, but our baby wanted to be close, to be held constantly … as in 24 hours a day! My instinct was to do just that but our society encourages us to put our babies down and teach them “independence”. After failed attempts of trying to help her to sleep in her cot, I felt deep down that it was not right for her or me.

I started reading and researching and found theories which suggested that my urge to hold her and be next to her could just be a natural instinct that may have evolved over millennia. Indeed, theories of brain development and attachment recognise that in order to be confident children and adults, we first need a secure attachment with our primary caregivers i.e. dependence is the precursor to independence. There are, of course, many different ways to create a strong bond and secure attachment, but as the days, weeks and months went by, we became confident in our instincts and chose to follow them. But what did this mean in reality? Feeding baby – during awake times and feeding to sleep, holding baby – while she slept during the day (often in the sling), safely sleeping with her next to us at night, carrying her in a sling whenever we were out (her dislike of prams was made very clear!), carrying her on our hips around the house, cooking and vacuuming with her in a sling. She was long past one year old before she tolerated the pushchair well and I even found myself breastfeeding a toddler to sleep in the sling while walking through the Quarry Park on many an occasion. Bonkers? Quite possibly! Is this type of parenting for everyone? Indeed no. However, it has been right for us and chiropractic care has quite simply enabled me to parent the way I want to.

I still occasionally carry our 15Kg toddler in the sling and a friend asked me how I did it. My response: chiropractic. Setting up the sling correctly is of course essential, but I don’t believe my body would have coped as it has without my weekly, sometimes twice-weekly, checks. Sometimes because I feel the need, other times purely because getting checked helps to keep my whole body functioning well.

Pretty much every physical act of being a mother would have been and still would be detrimental to my posture, muscle tone, spinal integrity and nervous system function: carrying a child in a sling or carrier creates pressure on the neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back and pelvis. Sitting breast feeding strains the neck and upper back. Sleeping next to a baby or toddler lends itself to strained or contorted (!) sleeping positions for the parents. Carrying a baby around the house on one hip creates misalignment of the spine. Pushing a pushchair produces an unnatural walking posture, often with shoulders and neck forwards and bottom pushed out. Looking down and bending down to watch and talk to your toddler encourages forward head carriage which increases the effective weight of your head, in turn putting more pressure on your spinal cord. All these acts not only create aches, discomfort and pain, but restrict the flow of your nervous system through your spinal cord to all organs and functions in your body. Chiropractic care releases tension (and wow, how good I feel after every adjustment!) and, more importantly, removes interference in the nervous system so that your whole body can function at its best. Each time I have my chiro check I feel renewed and refreshed, ready to take on my next parenting challenge, ready to give all the love I have and meet the needs of my little (or now not-so-little) one.



Starting points for further reading:

Chiropractic care:

The effect of chiropractic care on the body – Haavik, H. 2014. The Reality Check. (or ask us to borrow a copy)

If you are interested in the parenting approaches we have been following:

Attachment Theory –

Co-sleeping and brain development

Safe co-sleeping

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