As a new parent, have you ever wished you had more than 2 hands?
You often feel overwhelmed because your newborn always wants to be held or you feel like you can’t leave them alone without running the risk of them hurting themselves?
Alas, someone recommends that you get a Bumbo or a Jumper for your newborn – SALVATION!
You view these things as a godsend for you are able to have a little ‘hands-free’ time so you can get some chores done around the house.
This just might become your new favorite thing and generally, your baby tends to enjoy them as well – either they are endlessly bouncing and giggling or sitting back and taking in their surroundings; but, for the developing child, you might be surprised to hear that these pieces of equipment may pose some huge issues.
NERVE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT
The order in which an infant progress through motor skills is VERY important.
Each skill serves as a precursor for the next, progressing from rolling to sitting to crawling to standing to walking.
This is the typical pattern infants should undergo when progressing through motor development. What people may not realize is that this developmental process is more than just developing the muscles and joint strengthen the handle standing and walking.
A child will reach each new phase of development as their neurological development allows, but by putting your non-walking child (let alone can’t sit upright by themselves) in a jumper, exersaucer or a Bumbo, you are effectively encouraging them to skip developmental steps, potentially leading to delays.
Generally, parents tend to want to use these tools before their infant is technically ready.
If you ever observed a child seated in a bumbo or jumper, the child is passively placed in position and then locked in. How will this child develop trunk control or pelvic stability when these apparatuses aren’t allowing muscle activation or joint movement to occur?
In some circumstances, the child has both hands and legs free, so they are not receiving proprioceptive input to the joints and muscles.
Babies rely heavily on developmental positions (tummy time, pushing up on their tummy or sitting while propping themselves with their arms) to allow for weight bearing across the joints, which provides proprioceptive input. The sensory stimulus from the world around whether it is proprioceptive (body awareness through muscles and joints), tactile (sense of touch) or vestibular (sense of movement) helps create the sensory integration needed for babies to be aware of their body and the world around them.
By positioning babies in an upright apparatus (prematurely) without access to sensory stimulation they require for development may delay the natural progression of the motor skills necessary to crawl, stand and walk.
You may be surprised to hear that in the womb and early phases of life, our spines resemble more of a feline’s than that of an adult human (minus a tail, of course 😉 )
You might be familiar with the shape of an adult spine – “S” shape, but you may not know that infant’s spines are born with only one curve, making them more like a “C” shape. The cervical (neck) curve develops in the first 3 months of life, as the baby starts to lift their head and gain control of their head. Additionally, the lumbar (lower back ) curve develops around 6-8 months when baby starts to crawl and sit unassisted. These curves will continue to develop as the child finishes growing.
As a Chiropractor, it doesn’t make much sense to me, to place a child in one of these apparatus before they are developmentally ready for sitting. Even more so, the jumpers which can place the developing spine under the stress and strain of ballistic loading (that’s what happens when your baby bounces in a sling or jumper).
Yes, there is clear evidence that bouncing and jumping is a great form of play in later childhood, but for the developing spine of a baby, the forces involved may create structural distortions may lead to problems in the future.
I know what you all are probably thinking…”Now what am I supposed to do to allow me to get things done around the house”
Not to my surprise, this is a pretty common scenario with moms that we care for in our practice. They, like you, sometimes find themselves silently screaming, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?!”
INSERT CHIROPRACTIC HERE
A child with signs of stress in their nervous system or spinal distortions in their spine may present with irritability, difficulty sleeping, breastfeeding, or even the dreaded colic, just to name a few.
Chiropractic care is equally important for children as it is for adults – after all, both have a spine and nervous system 😉 , and both need for them to function optimally in order to learn, thrive, and develop to their potential.
When was the last time your child had their spine and nervous system checked? If the answer is anything other than “in the last month”, then click below to request a complimentary consultation for your child.