My second child was colic and he made my life hard. In fact, I often describe those first nine months of my son’s life as nine months of Hell. Don’t get me wrong, I love this little boy today- six years later, but those first nine months come from a dark hole of misery. If you know someone that dealt with colic they deserve a beach-vacation and a life-time supply of chocolate for surviving with their sanity intact. There were many things that got me through the season of colic- I talk a lot about how I survived those tough mom days in this post. One of the biggest changes I made in my life that made the season of colic endurable was visiting a chiropractor. But first- what is the difference between colic and a fussy baby? Not a whole lot…
What is Colic?
Colic looks different on babies. What you should look for: excessive crying, difficult to comfort, grimacing/frowning, red face, knees drawn up to chest, high pitched, piercing sound, clenched fists, excessive gas and the crying is worse in the afternoon/evening.
My newborn son literally screamed at the top of his lungs before his eyes even opened in the morning and it lasted all day. He cried while sleeping and even while eating! My ears were always ringing from his crying. When I described this “personality trait” to my pediatrician he said, “Maybe he just likes to cry.” Or my favorite, “Oh he’ll grow out of it.” My heart sunk- there was no advice expect don’t eat dairy or chocolate and be patient. And so- for months I endured his screaming and crying. When I wasn’t crying myself, I would give myself pep-talks. Even while still asleep I would prepare myself to handle this child I loved, deep-deep down, but truly did not like. I felt myself emotionally drained before the morning even began.
Searching for Answers
I started looking into alternative methods to deal with the crying when my son was three weeks old. Could he be in pain? There were oils for an upset stomach we tried and colic calm was another option. I quit drinking my cup of milk a day with my cereal. Exasperated by both of us crying, one day my friend and I discussed the rough delivery of this baby. Could his hard delivery given my son birth trauma? Was his spine or a certain vertebrae out of wack?
After that conversation I started looking into a chiropractor who specializes in prenatal adjustments. Our first visit was interesting, but the chiropractor confirmed my son’s crying was indeed a direct result of a pinched nerves in the spine and a hernia in his stomach. The crying was not a “personality trait” he would grow out of, but a cry for help! My infant was in pain! After our first visit to the chiropractor my son belched so loud that I thought my husband was in the room. Everything was back in place and all the air trapped in his stomach was finally released. From that day forward my second child still cried, but the high pitched, inconsolable crying happen a few times a day- not all day long like before. The chiropractor saved my son and my sanity.
Let’s fast-forward five years later to my fourth child… who cries and cries and cries. He can not be put down and was sensitive to touch. We could not change his clothes or the diaper without him freaking out. However, once he was picked up- his crying stopped instantly. With colic- there is no stopping the crying crazy-train. Our fourth baby just wanted to be held! But I have three other kids that need my attention and I would like to take a shower- alone! I borrowed from my sister the Bobo Wrap. Now I could function with both of my hands-yippee! Yes, my son wants me to slow down, I’ve talked about the power of slowing down for our little ones here. But, this baby is fussy- which makes him a hard baby. And with our incredibly rough pregnancy and equally rough delivery- (another post for another day) I knew as soon as I was able to leave the house I would seek additional help with a chiropractic adjustment.
Four weeks of enduring the sweet cry of a newborn I finally found a chiropractor that specialized in prenatal care and made an appointment. I was so impressed with our doctor who answered all of my questions that I asked if I could interview him for an article. You guys- the information that I gleamed from our conversation is priceless and important for other mommies to know.
Top Three Reasons to Take Your Fussy or Colicky Baby to a Pediatric Chiropractor
An interview with Dr. John Sorenson DC, DAACP, QME
Morgan: What are the signs that my child needs to go to the chiropractor?
Dr. Sorenson: There are actually five signs you look for: colicky, spitting up, can not latch very well or [have] trouble [turning] their head, constipation and arching of back.
M: Wait, constipation? They say that it is not considered constipation if an infant does not poop for two to three days.
Dr: Right, not as long as there is consistency. But if they [the baby] is straining to poop then that is not normal. In the first couple weeks of life- straining is normal they’re just trying to get used to the new normal. But if it persists, then it can become a problem. And again if the nerve in the neck is pinched or is affected – it will affect the acid production in the stomach causing acid reflex. The baby is not comfortable, they can get constipated, their bowels can slow down because the nerves are affected.
1st Reason to Visit the Chiropractor: Overall Well-Health
M: What are the benefits of a chiropractic adjustment on an infant? I have read adjustments help with colic and reduce in ear infections. What have you seen benefits the baby?
Dr: 90% of all infants, according to American medical Association, have some type of upper neck trauma through the birthing process even with a normal birth. Going through the birth canal, having their head squeezed, then having the bones come together – it is just a traumatic event. Both on the baby and the mother. So an adjustment gets everything back into alignment so the baby can develop on track.
M: What tools does the chiropractor uses on an infant during their adjustment.
Dr: An Activator. It has a gauge of 0-35 lbs of pressure. This works great on elderly people that are frail with osteoporosis and on infants. You can put it on the vertebra and get a very specific adjustment from it. So instead of pushing or twisting, you can put the activator right on the misaligned vertebra and it will pop or adjust it right back in.
M: And does that hurt the baby?
Dr: When done correctly no, that’s also why you can adjust the pressure of the activator to get the desired affect.
M: Is the visit to a chiropractor for an infant a one-time thing? Or do they return often?
Dr: So with an infant it [adjustment] usually does not take much. And a couple of adjustments to make major corrections. See, the older we are and the more experiences we have been through. The more trauma we have been through and scar tissue the harder it is to treat. With the infants everything is fresh and new and the muscles are very pliable, there is no injury or scar tissue from an injury. So the infant responds very quickly to the care. So two to three adjustments is what it usually takes to correct an issues. Generally you need to bring a child back once a year to make sure everything is developing and progressing the way that it should. As a child gets older and according to their lifestyle– they might need to come in more often. Some good reasons to be adjusted are: they’re heavy involvement in sports, falling off the trampoline or gotten in an accident. Otherwise – once a year is a really good rule of thumb to make sure they’re developing correctly.
Second Reason to Visit the Chiropractor: Natural Pain Solution
M: What are the signs I should be looking for if my infant needs to come in for another adjustment?
Dr: In your baby’s first year of life, the big goal is to keep them off of antibiotics. There are a couple of key stages through that first year when they start to teethe. Babies can get pressure in the ears, as the teeth are coming in the pressure can block the eustachian tube‘s and that can cause ear infections, ear pressure or ear aches. So when they start grabbing or pulling on their ears that is a good sign that they have ear pressure and need to come in to get an adjustment.
When you adjust C1- the first vertebra at the top of the spine- this can clear the eustachian tube‘s and often times the pressure in the ear will clear as well. In my twenty-four years of experience I have had only two infants need tube’s put in their ears. This adjustment is very effective.
M: Can an adjustment be harmful? What are the risks of an adjustment for an infant?
Dr: Yes, an adjustment can be harmful if you don’t know what you’re doing. With an infant there isn’t too much damage you can do it to them – except for tear a muscle, injure a joint or you can create swelling or inflammation. With adults you can break ribs. We are one of the safest professions medically speaking – but there are good chiropractors and bad chiropractors, so make sure you do your homework.
Third Reason to Visit the Chiropractor: Acknowledge You’re a good Mom
M: What is the most important reason mothers should consider taking their child to the chiropractor?
Dr: The most important reason is for the mother to have the confidence that she is a good mother. I know this sounds simple or funny. But, if you have a colicky or a fussy baby experience tells me that most moms feel like they are doing something wrong, that it’s their fault. They’re not giving enough attention or care to their baby, they often times start to resent the baby and the fussy baby starts to affect their relationships at home. So my job is really to make the mom feel at peace and to understand that she is doing enough. And if there is an physical issue, we identify and correct it- hopefully everyone leaves happy.
Which the pediatricians can help a mother feel confident, but more often times they might say, “Oh that’s normal for them to cry, or they will grow out of it.” Which is true, but if [getting an adjustment] is an easier and more effective [solution]- why not?
M: The mom guilt is so real! As a mother you often question- what am I doing wrong? What am I eating that makes them so upset?
Dr: You won’t believe the amount of mothers that come in here on crazy diets. Often times the food they’re eating is not the problem.
M: But when there is a physical reason for their pain – you feel better. When you have an explanation for their pain I felt so much better. And after his adjustment- so did he!
Dr: Exactly! Mom’s need to be informed of the different options [like a chiropractic adjustment] are available for them and their fussy or colicky baby. We need to get the word out to the community. In fact, many women don’t know they should get adjusted while pregnant. Studies show that a chiropractic adjustment can shorten the average labor time by two- to three hours. Who wouldn’t want that? Bottom line: Education is the key to making an informed decision. Here at my chiropractic office we are “Pro Mom”. We want moms to walk away feeling confident and informed on caring for herself and her fussy or colicky baby.
After our interview with Dr. Sorenseon and especially after the visits our little man needed I am happy and so is our baby. This little guy’s fussy demeanor and overall crabby-ness greatly improved after each visit. He is happier and sleeping better. Heck- he was finally able to lay flat on his back for a diaper change without completely throwing a fit! And- I didn’t have to wait six months for him to “grow out of it”! Visiting a chiropractor was worth it’s weight in gold. My little man got the stamp of approval for his overall health (which was a concern). I learned of additional options for natural pain relief. Lastly, I had an outside source tell me I was doing everything right for my fussy baby.
Dr. Sorenson’s mission statement should be: Empowering Mom’s One Visit at a Time because that’s exactly how I felt when I left his office with a happy baby. I can not express my gratitude enough for Dr. Sorenson in helping my son heal from his pain and introduce me to my happy baby. After all, a happy baby makes a happy mommy too.
Have you ever considered taking your baby to a chiropractor? What benefits would you add to my list? Add them in your comments below!
Hoping you and your baby find peace and happiness,
**This interview was recorded but words were changed to clarify meaning and purpose. For further information of Dr. Sorenson’s practices head to his website.