The best thing about teaching kids how to move, is YOU DON’T HAVE TO TEACH KIDS HOW TO MOVE.
Let that sink in for a little bit.
If you have ever seen a toddler squat and you know anything about functional fitness and movement patterns, little ones have better squats than most adults.
Movement at birth is actually hardwired into baby’s system very early on in pregnancy and if all of those milestones are hit perfectly, there should NEVER be a need to teach a baby to move.
As a rule of thumb, you should never have to assist a baby with the way it moves. Moreover, you should never put a baby in a position before they are developmentally/neurologically ready.
… no bumbo chairs
… no front facing carriers
… no walkers/jumpers, etc. etc.
The first system that develops in-utero is the nervous system and the first system in the nervous system that develops IS the vestibular system or in lay terms the inner ear.
Which is so much more than just the ear.
Baby’s inner ear is her ability to know where she is in space and where space is in relation to her. It is her ability to become familiar with movement and the simple difference between what is UP and what is DOWN.
Many of our parents ask why baby’s need to be carried so much. And in the most simple explanation, they go from a virtually gravity free environment, literally inside the safe harbor of momma and after birth are 100% fully required to navigate the whole of the sensory world – including the force of gravity.
That would be scary for all of us!
But this is also WHY every baby thrives when held.
So when talking about movement, this is where we start because everything is based on the health and the function of baby’s nervous system.
By 8 weeks in utero, babies develop the moro reflex.
By 12 weeks, the palmar and plantar grasp reflex.
By 16-20 weeks, the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex and the spinal galant reflex.
By 24-28 week, rooting, suckle and latch reflex.
Do these sound familiar?
For the parents in our practice this is familiar as core to every child’s initial exam and progress exams.
Why are we so committed to doing this???
First, because we want to understand how the subluxation patterns we identify are causing malfunction in the body, and we want to track improvements in the nervous system function as the subluxation patterns heal.
We do not just want to rely on symptoms.
Second, we want to compare chronological age/maturity with functional age/maturity. If kids present with a retained primitive reflex, it is a sign that the child’s nervous system may be at an infant level of maturity.
This is NOT OK because when anyone says that they don’t know why the:
1 in 6 kids that has a neurodevelopmental delay,
1 in 9 kids that has ADHD
1 in 36 kids that has Autism
1 in 4 kids that requires special education… OR
They try to tell you that it’s just GENETIC, this is just not true.
There are a multitude of reasons why we do what we do… but none more important than knowing a complete picture into understanding the root cause of their symptoms, disease or diagnosis.
This month’s theme is about movement in babies.
These reflexes are the foundations to whole body movement, YES latch and nursing is a MOVEMENT.
If a baby has difficulty nursing, we would look at things like range of motion of both the neck and jaw BUT we would be deeply interested in WHY there maybe restriction in the range of motion.
Perhaps the jaw and cranium are subluxated causing an improper latch/suck…
The lower neck can be subluxated causing an inability to rotate the head fully…
The suckle and root reflex are inhibited by an upper cervical subluxation pattern and baby cannot get a proper seal around the breast tissue.
perhaps the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex could be inhibited and baby cannot coordinate her sense of knowing it’s time to eat, the stimulation of the root reflex and engage the latch efficiently.
That asymmetrical tonic neck reflex and all primitive reflexes are foundational reflexes. If they are not functioning normally in utero it can lead to poor baby position and therefore less than optimal birth outcomes.
If the nervous system is not healed appropriately, the subluxation patterns continue to cause major interference to the normal development of the nervous system and the primitive reflexes do not develop or mature normally.
And THIS is a huge reason why babies “miss” milestones which is ABNORMAL.
As common as it may be and as much as doctors and other providers will tell you ‘it just happens’… but this is no accident.
A baby may not nurse normally because of the reasons above.
A baby may not roll over bilaterally and efficiently because of a poorly developed ATNR.
A baby may not poop normally because of a poorly developed Spinal Galant reflex.
BUT the key is not the reflex!!!
I cannot stress this enough…….
The key is resolving the underlying subluxation pattern CAUSING the reflex problem.
But before you do that, you must have a clinical workup that assesses baby’s whole body/brain function. To my knowledge, we have the most comprehensive pediatric exam.
We have been visited by many other practitioners because we are absolutely committed to not only stopping the most alarming epidemic in the history of children’s health but doing everything in our power to help our kids SELF-HEAL from these man-made conditions.
Nothing is more important than assessing a baby’s movement.