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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nurturing Touch: Massage & Chiropractic Therapy for Infants and Children

Day 2 in the hospital after giving birth to baby A, with cracked and bleeding and insanely sore nipples, (isn't this supposed to be easier the second time around?! Ugh!) the lactation consultant tells me I need to see an OMT to improve baby A's latch. So after settling in at home, I call the numbers they gave me for the therapists in my area, none of which take our insurance. Ugh.

So I call the lactation consultant and immediately make another appointment. Baby A is exclusively nursing, although I am incredibly sore, and she seems satiated, but she certainly does NOT have a strong latch. I have always called her "sippy Susan" :)  as she is on/off/on/off/on/off the whole time she is nursing, which could last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour! I ask the lactation consultant exactly what this appointment with the OMT would accomplish. She tells me they do some small 'manipulations' of the skull and neck, focusing on the jaw to improve the baby's ability to open their mouth wider and thus latch better.

And I immediately think, hey! My chiropractor could do that!

I call that day, and schedule baby A an appointment with my chiropractor (New England Chiropractic) - who, by the way, I completely and utterly recommend if you are anywhere near the Westbrook, Maine area!  Dr. Kelly explained to me that they see many infants for issues like colic, constipation, and latch problems like baby A's. She completed her initial consultation and explained to me that baby A had several areas in her lower back that needed adjusting, as well as her hip.

After several visits, we saw a significant difference in her behavior (she was what many would describe as "colicky") as well as an improvement in her latch and overall nursing behavior. She was sleeping more restfully, and was overall a more content baby.

Our chiropractor also discussed the benefits of massage therapy, and since it just so happens that I have an amazing aunt who is a licensed massage therapist- I was able to have her give baby A a massage and walk me through how to give them at home. When you massage your baby or child at home, pay less attention to technique (save that for the professionals), and more attention to your baby's body. It's a great time for you to "tune in" to what your baby really wants. Baby A loves the glute massage! :) She gets all giggly, and her whole body relaxes. She also enjoys when I rub her itty bitty fingers in between mine. I have also started giving massages to my toddler, who much prefers the leg massage.

"My favorite part about baby massage is the parent's face while massaging their baby. They smile the entire time. Like trying to keep your eyes open when sneezing is impossible, massaging a baby and not smiling is equally impossible. All involved reap benefits; the baby, the parent (or caregiver), and the massage therapist. Each leaves the experience with different yet equally significant good vibes. It's a wonderful thing and for the Massage Therapist, who also smiles the whole time, it's an energy boost that fills your tank for the rest of the day."

Have you taken your infant/children to a chiropractor and/or massage therapist? What was your experience like?



    Perfect timing! Check out this video about chiropractic :)

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