Dr. John Edwards, D.C., serves expecting mothers, babies and children at Mama's Chiropractic Clinic in Cape Coral, Florida. During the April 21st Great Cloth Diaper Change, Edwards met with parents in Estero, Florida to demonstrate one of several things that can be implemented in general baby care to reduce intestinal and gut pain (that we often label 'colic'). Edwards points out the reasons that changing a diaper day in and day out, multiple times a day, in the fashion that many parents have been taught to do, actually introduces repetitive stress to a baby's spine, right where the spinal nerves meet the intestines.
Before sharing this Edwards' demonstration with peaceful parenting readers, we reviewed the top 10 ranking "How to Change Your Baby" videos on YouTube and found that 9 of the 10 used a double leg lift technique, rather than a roll technique. [The majority of the videos were also devoid of proper intact care information for changing baby boys, but that is subject for another post.]
Here, Edwards explains the reasons that the roll technique is healthier for your baby until she is able to crawl around on her own. He mentions that it may be more cumbersome at first, but with a little bit of practice, you will get the hang of things. Edwards uses a full hand over chest to roll the baby in this demonstration. We have found that some parents (especially mothers with smaller hands) find it more convenient to use two hands, one on baby's back/side/hips and one on baby's belly to roll baby to one side and then the other for wiping. We strongly encourage parents to skip the diaper changing tables all together and put down a simple changing mat, towel, or 'old fashioned' cloth diaper that can be easily tossed into the wash when it is soiled. Lay this out on the floor or on the bed, so you have plenty of room to sit in front of baby, spread out and change without baby rolling into dangerous positions. Doing so will also make the roll technique easier.
The Fussy Baby Book (1999) Dr. William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N.
The Baby Bond (2009) Dr. Linda Palmer, D.C.
Baby Massage: The Calming Power of Touch (2004) Dr. Alan Heath, Ph.D. Nicki Bainbridge, R.N.
The Vital Touch (1997) Dr. Sharon Heller, Ph.D.
Klougart N, Nilsson N and Jacobsen J. "Infantile Colic Treated by Chiropractors: A Prospective Study of 316 Cases." J Manipulative Physiol Therapy. 1989 (Aug);12 (4): 281-288
In this study, 73 chiropractors adjusted the spines of 316 infants (median age 5.7 weeks at initial examination) with moderate to severe colic (average 5.2 hours of crying per day). The infant's mothers were provided a diary and kept track of the baby's symptoms, intensity and length of the colicky crying as well as how comfortable the infant seemed. 94% of the children within 14 days of chiropractic care (usually three visits) showed a satisfactory response. After four weeks, the improvements were maintained. One fourth of these infants showed great improvement after the very first chiropractic adjustment. The remaining infants all showed improvement within 14 days. Note: 51% of the infants had undergone prior unsuccessful treatment, usually drug therapy.Wiberg JMM, Nordsteen J, Nilsson N. "The Short-term Effect of Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Infantile Colic: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial with a Blinded Observer." J Manipulative Physiol Therapy. 1999 (Oct); 22 (8): 517-522
This is a randomized controlled trial that took place in a private chiropractic practice and the National Health Service's health visitor nurses in a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark. One group of infants received spinal care for 2 weeks, the other was treated with the drug dimethicone for 2 weeks. Changes in daily hours of crying were recorded in a colic diary. From the abstract: By trial days 4 to 7, hours of crying were reduced by 1 hour in the dimethicone groups compared with 2.4 hours in the manipulation group (P = 04). On days 8 through 11, crying was reduced by 1 hour for the dimethicone group, whereas crying in the manipulation group was reduced by 2.7 hours (P=.004). From trial day 5 onward the manipulation group did significantly better that (sic) the dimethicone group. Conclusion: Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving infantile colic.