I Took My Newborn To A Chiropractor For Colic And It Worked

Is your newborn suffering from colic? A chiropractor might be the answer to your prayers

As a newborn, my daughter liked to be cuddled and was generally content to be held or laid down—not unlike most newborns. My husband and I joked that for the first few weeks we didn’t really know what colour her eyes were because she slept so much.

Then one day it all changed. 

She had frequent fussy periods during the day and became inconsolable for four to five hours at night, every night. This being my second child, I knew to expect some changes around the one-month mark and I thought, “All babies cry right? It’s normal.”  

The fussy periods quickly increased and became the norm rather than the exception. The evening witching hours only grew longer. She soon became a barnacle, attached to my body most of the time because nursing or being worn was the only thing that seemed to calm her.  And despite my hubby’s best efforts, only mommy would do for this babe.

“It’s just gas,” I said, refusing to admit that my baby was colicy. My first daughter had issues with gas when she was an infant so it made sense to me.  I cut dairy and all cruciferous vegetables from my diet, I limited citrus, and I kept gripe water within arm’s reach at all times. We walked, we bopped, we drove. Nothing worked.

During those long nightly bouts of crying, my newborn wasn’t the only one that was shedding tears. I was exhausted and out of ideas so I did what many mothers do now—I turned to my Facebook mommy group.

A trusted friend said my experience echoed hers and suggested taking my baby to the chiropractor. I had used chiro during my pregnancy so I called my clinic and learned that they aren’t just a family-friendly practice in that I could bring my 3-year-old along when I need an adjustment, they treat babies and children as well.

On our first visit the doctor did a complete body assessment, explaining everything she was doing and asking before she did anything. She checked my baby’s spine and found some spots that were tight, she described it as “not as spongy as they should be.” She applied some pressure with her fingers (only after she showed me on my arm the amount she would be applying) and then told me to book again in a few days.

Admittedly, I was skeptical. But, after the first treatment by daughter slept better than she had in weeks and was far less fussy. I couldn’t believe it and was frustrated with myself that I made chiro my last resort. Needless to say, we went back and after a few weeks or regular treatments were only going on an “as needed” basis.

“In most cases we are seeing lower back and SI joint restrictions and tightness,” says Dr. Patricia Riley from Chiropractic Wellness and Rehabilitation in Oshawa, of babies who are brought in for fussiness. “With gas problems, the lower back is often quite tight and that can cause irritable babies and then cranky parents.”

As a mother of three, Dr. Riley understands how parents may be hesitant to initially bring their babies in—especially if they haven’t had much experience with chiropractic treatments. “Burping is more aggressive than the pressure we apply. The difference is, it is controlled pressure.”

Having assessed and treated her own children, she knows firsthand what chiro can do. “Chiropractic treatments calms the nervous system,” she says, “resulting in calmer and happier babies.”

Since there isn’t a definitive science-based answer on what causes colic, the conventional medical community tends to not offer up much advice other than to take a “wait it out” approach—at least in my experience. For me, waiting it out wasn’t an option if I planned to maintain my sanity. I had been given enough anecdotal evidence that I was comfortable trying it.

When I mentioned to friends and family members that I was taking my daughter to chiro, I got some serious stink eye from some. But more were sincerely interested in how it was working and what the sessions were like.

Riley says that people are becoming more educated about chiropractic care and more open to it. “There are a lot of medications out there that can cause more damage,” says Riley. “With chiro, the worst case scenario is that the baby doesn’t respond to treatment, or doesn’t respond as quickly.”

Now, my once inconsolable infant is a happy one year old. Is it chiro that made her that way? Likely not. She’s still barnacle-like and prefers mama when she’s under the weather but I do think that chiro helped us get to this happy stage more quickly.

For anyone who’s dealing with a cranky baby, what have you got to lose? Other than more sleep and patience. 

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