Healthy postural positions for babies

Baby asleep in cot

Joanna Lowry-Corry outlines top tips for promoting healthy postural positions for your baby.

Unfortunate fact: Birth is a traumatic experience for your baby; did you know, for example, that the baby’s cranial bones move and overlap affording the flexibility required during delivery? Even after a successful delivery, a baby’s spine is still at risk. There are small precautions you can take and things you can do to help.

When holding your baby, ensure that their head is supported with your index finger behind the ear. When bathing your baby, keep their head supported with thumb and forefinger, while your free hand is used for bathing and supporting their body.

Breast feeding should be done with baby facing the breast to minimise neck rotation, and do use a pillow to support you and your baby as it’ll be better for your own back!

Although they may laugh and smile, throwing your child up and down can actually cause spinal problems due to a lack of core strength, it’s best to avoid it in the early years. When picking children up, lift while holding them under both arms and avoid carrying them on one hip. Carry your baby like an African mother, either on your front or back, with one leg either side of you.

Try and avoid contraptions that force your child to sit before it is naturally able to, these can actually cause long term spinal problems as they keep your baby’s spine in the ‘c’ shape curve it’s born with and do not allow the normal curves in the neck and low back to develop.

It’s probably obvious, but emotional stress can also have a massive impact. Domestic disharmony and maternal distress is very quickly picked up by the infant and translated into irritability, crying and unsettled behaviour. The negative effect on muscle tone, sleeping and feeding patterns is a major contributor to spinal problems later down the line.

Finally, get moving! Crawling, wriggling and rolling on the floor should be actively encouraged. Maintain eye contact where possible and always smile. If you have any concerns whatsoever about your baby’s development, please go and see a Chiropractor.

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