Congratulations on the birth of your baby!
Whether this is your first child or not, every baby comes with an adjustment period. Individual personalities make us all different and whether you’re a seasoned parent or infant expert, learning your new baby’s needs takes work.
During the “4th Trimester,” mom and baby are still very tightly connected. Your baby can’t regulate her body well and her immature organs need a lot of support from mom. Many moms complain that they can’t get anything done because they have to hold the baby all the time.
While breast milk is best for your baby, the most important thing is that she and you are healthy and thriving. If you are struggling to breastfeed, remember that a fed baby and healthy mom are the ultimate goal. If you need to use formula, do it.
I wanted to share with you the top 8 health challenges you may face in your baby’s first year of life along with some easy and safe ways to help them.
- The common cold and other respiratory viruses – this is more common in households with multiple kids, especially toddlers at daycare or school age children. Children in group settings will pass a cold from one kid to the next and then bring it home. A breastfed baby will still be getting immune support from mom, so they will be more protected from respiratory viruses than a formula fed baby. One simple thing you can do to help your formula fed baby is add colostrum to their bottle. Colostrum is the pre-milk substance that mammary glands produce right after birth and is full of immune system You may also want to add probiotics to the bottle, especially if your baby has tummy issues or was delivered via C-section.
Make sure you are disinfecting doorknobs, light switches, faucets, the toilet flush handle, and other frequently touched items every single day. Also have hand sanitizer in the car. Have your littles (and adults!) wash their hands every time they come into the house and before they touch anything.
I love SolUGuard disinfectant by Ecosense. It’s plant based and completely safe around kids and pets. There are no dangerous fumes or chemicals to harm growing lungs, eyes, or skin. It was the first plant based disinfectant ever registered with the EPA and has years of safety and effectiveness behind it.
- Diaper Rash – Newborn skin is sensitive and human waste is toxic. It’s a bad Diaper rash is common, especially in the folds of the groin and buttocks, where it’s harder to get baby completely clean. The best way to prevent diaper rash is by thoroughly cleaning your baby with every diaper change, and changing their diaper frequently. Modern diapers (especially disposable ones) hold a huge volume of liquid, so it’s easy to just let your baby sit in them after urinating, especially when you’re busy. Even though diapers are super absorbent, the pressure of sitting will allow that liquid to touch their skin and cause irritation.
If your baby gets diaper rash, a cream with zinc oxide and soothing botanicals like marigold extract will help clear it up quickly. You can also sprinkle a little baby powder to help absorb excess fluid.
- Colic – colic is most common in the first 6 months and can completely disrupt the entire Many doctors say the cause of colic is unknown. I believe colic to be caused by a combination of the baby’s immature digestive system, sensitivities to something in mom’s breastmilk or their formula, and spinal stress interfering with normal communication from the brain to the GI tract.
Many colicky babies also have reflux (either silent or with spit up).
You can try changing what mom is eating (if breastfeeding) or switch formulas and see if that helps. You can bicycle baby’s legs to help them fart and relieve pressure.
Pediatric chiropractic care works extremely well on colic! Remember I mentioned spinal stress as one reason for it. The birth process is hard on both baby and mom, and small misalignments, especially up in the neck, can cause interference in how the brain communicates to and controls the body. Gentle, pulsing adjustments using the same pressure you’d use to check the ripeness of an avocado can help realign the segments and normalize brain-body messages. I’ve had so much success with chiropractic care and colic that I don’t understand why every pediatrician in America doesn’t recommend this to their patients.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) – this can be either silent reflux (no spit up) or reflux with spit
With GERD, the contents of the stomach push back up into the esophagus, and the baby either spits it up, or doesn’t. When they don’t, it’s called silent reflux. Reflux of either type is uncomfortable for your baby.
Your baby may seem uncomfortable, arching their back during or right after eating. They may cry or have trouble burping. Like colic, they may be gassy.
This is another situation where pediatric chiropractic care is really effective. You may also give your baby gripe water or other gas relievers, but these are merely covering the symptoms and not helping solve the original problem.
GERD often resolves on its own in the first year, but if you can help your baby feel better faster, the whole family will benefit.
- Constipation – Your pediatrician may tell you that constipation is normal. I’m going to disagree and say it might be common, but it’s not In a healthy baby, what goes
in must come out. If your baby is feeding regularly but not eliminating regularly, then something is amiss.
If your baby is breastfed, they will probably have a bowel movement 1-3 times per day. If they are formula fed it may be slightly less. With formula fed babies, there is a slight chance that they need a bit more water, so if your baby is constipated and on formula, try giving them extra water first and see if that helps. If your breastfed baby gets constipated, another area to check is mom’s diet. Did a food get added? Baby may not like it.
The brain/GI connection is crucial for your baby’s overall health. 70%(ish) of our immune system resides in our gut and gut health is one of the pillars of a healthy body.
Constipation is a sign that something isn’t moving well, and the movement of the GI tract is controlled by the nervous system. This is another area where pediatric chiropractic care works really well to improve your baby’s function.
You’ll notice that gastrointestinal issues are 40% of the top 10 health concerns for infants. Ensuring your baby’s GI tract is working optimally will help you have the best first year possible.
- Diarrhea – loose stools are common in babies, as their diet is completely liquid. Diarrhea will be more watery and may be accompanied by tummy upset. Diarrhea tends to be acidic, too, so your baby may get a diaper rash when they normally wouldn’t. Check for signs of an infection (elevated temperature) and also check mom’s diet to make sure she didn’t add a food that baby disagrees
- Ear Infections – Your baby’s ear canal is very shallow in the first year of This means that it’s harder to drain fluids out of the ear if there’s any buildup. As your child grows, the ear canal will change shape and deepen slightly, but until that happens, fluid build up is possible and one reason for ear infections. Other common reasons include immune system weakness, food sensitivities, and chronic colds.
Your baby may have a fever, be fussy, tug at their ears and cry a lot. Over 50% of ear infections are viral, but antibiotics are still prescribed even though they do nothing for viruses. Because antibiotics wipe out your baby’s healthy GI bacteria, I personally believe that they should be a last resort. Many children come to me and have been on
4-6 rounds of antibiotics for several years. These kids are struggling with immune issues tied to an unhealthy gut microbiome.
Gentle adjustments of the top two bones in the neck (using pulsing pressure that’s about the same as you would check the ripeness of an avocado) often improves or eliminates ear infections.
- Skin Rashes – babies have skin rashes for lots of Heat rash, food sensitivities, and sensitivity to fabrics are a few common ones. Another reason is an unhealthy gut microbiome as discussed above. Gut health and skin health are directly related.
I love using this lotion on skin irritations. It’s completely safe for babies. It helped my rosacea tremendously.
If your baby has skin irritations, pinpointing the cause is important. It might be your laundry detergent, soap, or lotion. It might be something mom is eating or an ingredient in formula. Once you figure out what it is, baby’s skin should improve quickly.
I hope this list is helpful. If you have any questions about how gentle pediatric care can help your child, please reach out for a free consultation. I would love to help your family!