The development of a human is an amazing thing. The first body system to begin developing is the nervous system. Within days of conception, the different germ layers of the young embryo start to fold over themselves and create a canal in which, the brain and spinal cord stem from. It is from the nervous system, and the messages that it sends, that the embryo will develop into a fetus and a beautiful baby, ready for birth after 38-42 weeks of gestation. The nervous system will continue to be the master system of the body, controlling every function, processing every piece of sensory input available, basically making us who we are.

    I mention this because it relates to chiropractic. Chiropractic primarily deals with the nervous system. We are who we are based upon what we take into our nervous system and how we process it. The world around us, as we know it, is directly related to the sensory input that we take in, beginning with our time in the womb, the first few minutes after birth and the subsequent days, weeks, months and years. Our overall health stems from our bodies ability to adapt to the world around us. A healthy nervous system is so important, because when healthy, it will have the ability to take the sensory input, process it, and adapt.

    How can parents help their infants develop a strong nervous system?

    There are many ways to do this. But the way that I want to address has to do with holding your baby close to you. A newborn baby needs constant love and nurturing. There is an old school of thought that dates back to the 1920's, that we were all born basically a blank slate, ignoring any evolutionary hardwiring or any inborn biological tendencies, and that in order to form an independent child it was necessary to prevent the newborn baby from creating dependent habits. Basically meaning that if you hold on to your baby, it will never let go. It is vital to the development of the baby that they feel an attachment to the parent. When the attachment with the parent is “secure,” the adult is modeling the capacities necessary for intimacy and social interaction and providing the child with a secure base from which to explore and learn about her world and the people in it. This neuroception of safety is the optimal biological condition from which to mature throughout the life span.

    Keeping our babies close to us. Hold your baby upright. Hold your baby close to you so that it can see you, smell you, feel you, and see the world around you. When infants are help upright, they are allowed to practice compensatory movements, enhancing muscular strength and allowing for more control over their fine motor skills. When the parent walks, stops or turns, an infant's body naturally works against the pull of gravity to maintain it's position. That force of gravity is a positive element in the development of the baby. It allows them to hold their head up and keep their bodies balanced.

   We should try and avoid placing our babies in "plastic containers" and laying them flat on their back as much as possible. These plastic containers are such things as car seats and strollers. Babies are born with a natural C shaped curve in their spine. Throughout development, the C shaped spine will gradually change into a S shape. This is made possible by experiencing gravity. Spending too much time in a car seat or stroller or on the back, can restrict postural options which can impact your baby's developing cranium and spine. Babies have a hard time acquiring adequate muscle strength to hold up their heads if they do not get much of a chance to experience gravity. Babies who frequently lie on their back either in a stroller, car seat or on the floor, may end up with plagiocephally, which is A deformed skull, flattened on the back or side.

    The truth of the matter is that a Western infant between 3 weeks and 3 months of age is carried little more than two in a half hours a day. We have digressed in our child rearing and have gotten to the point that we allow objects to determine our babies sense of contact rather than ourselves.


-Dr. Rutter


07/25/2012 16:58

Was just bored and thought I would post to say hello


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