My son is 11 months old. He loves to roll and play while sitting up, but he shows no interest in crawling. He doesn’t get up on all fours or pull up to a sitting or standing position. We are doing an early intervention program and physical therapy. I’m just not seeing any results. Should I be worried about his development?
We now know that there are specific movements that develop and strengthen the neural connections throughout the brain and throughout the central nervous system. A very important milestone for the developing child is crawling. In order for the two hemispheres of the brain to work together, the left and right brain hemispheres have to be interconnected. The communication pathway, known as the corpus callosum, is composed of specific bundled nerve fibers. These nerve fibers are formed through specific movement, crawling being one of them.
Today, infants spend too much time on their backs. The back to sleep program, car carriers, and other infant seats keep the infant limited to this position. As they get a bit older, the modern usage of walkers and other similar types of sitting apparatuses limit the infant’s belly time. It is essential that we increase our babies’ belly time as this stimulates their ability to pass into the crawling stage at a reasonable time. This is why I also encourage the use of infant body carriers, where the parent is carrying the infant next to their body as opposed to in a hand-held carrier. (The body carriers also allow the baby to reach important neurological developmental milestones.)
Many parents tell me that their babies “just do not want to be on their bellies and they fuss and cry in that position.” I still encourage parents to take the time to put their babies in that position and get down on the floor with them to encourage their acceptance. Combined with baby carrying, the baby can become more comfortable and accepting of this new and vital position.
Sometimes, however the babies still complain. Very often there could be a spinal misalignment in the infant making it uncomfortable to be on their bellies. Spinal misalignments impair normal nerve system function and therefore development. Spinal muscles may be weakened because of the misalignment, making it difficult for an infant to crawl. So they avoid it.
Spinal misalignment may be caused by physical, emotional, or chemical stress. I frequently point out how today’s “normal birthing process” includes all three of these stresses and an infant’s developing nerve system may be affected since birth. If left uncorrected, normal nerve system function will be impaired in some way affecting numerous neurological functions.
Your family doctor of chiropractic can examine your infant to determine if a misalignment may be impeding your infant’s normal developmental process. Rest assured, the specific techniques a qualified doctor of chiropractic uses to adjust infants is very specific and gentle. Many babies sleep right through the adjustment. Their specialty is enhancing nerve system function by reducing any nerve system stress. Additionally, your family chiropractor can suggest exercises and movement activities you can do with your infant to support your child’s restoration of neurological integrity.
About the Author:
Dr. Ohm is a practicing DC in a family, wellness based practice since 1981. She is an international lecturer on the topic "Chiropractic Care in Pregnancy and Infancy" to practicing Chiropractors and affiliated Care Providers. A Post Graduate Instructor for numerous Chiropractic Colleges, ahe is also the author of many papers on pregnancy, birth, children and chiropractic.
Dr. Ohm is the founder of Makin' Miracles...Connecting Kid's n' Chiropractic, a community outreach program to educate children and adults about the life saving benefits of chiropractic. Ahe is also the producer and writer of the children's chiropractic song, "Power On!" and educational video, "Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic." In addition, she is the Executive Coordinator for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, and editor of the I.C.P.A.'s bimonthly newsletter.
You can find a doctor of chiropractic who works with infants here: www.icpa4kids.org.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #11.
To purchase this issue, Order Here.