The Neuroscience Behind Carrying Babies Keeps Them Calm

The Neuroscience Behind Carrying Babies Keeps Them Calm

Countless tired parents across the globe know the story. Walking around for hours on end, patting their over tired baby, trying to get them off to sleep. Then ever so gently lowering them into the cot only for them to open their eyes, wide-awake to start crying again!

Ahh the sheer frustration!

An Apple A Day May Make Your Baby Smarter

An Apple A Day May Make Your Baby Smarter

We’ve all heard the saying about apples but there may be more truth in the expression than first suspected. Women who eat fruit during their pregnancy have been shown to have smarter kids. Who knew by scoffing back a few extra bananas you could have such a positive affect?

Pain-Free Breastfeeding: It Is Possible?

Pain-Free Breastfeeding: It Is Possible?

“The highly intelligent and healthy baby mammal is capable of instinctively breastfeeding with only the gentle assistance of its mother,” says Dr Robyn Thompson. You see this everywhere you look in nature. No forceful or complicated techniques are required. Just instinct. This observation leads to a very poignant question though: Why do so many women struggle with the practice of breastfeeding?

THE STRESS RESPONSE & THE PAEDIATRIC PATIENT

THE STRESS RESPONSE & THE PAEDIATRIC PATIENT

When considering the stress response in the paediatric patient, it is important to consider the concept of physiological co-variation. This is the correlation between the individual’s physiology within a period of time (Example: a mother and child). Research demonstrates that an infant will experience a change in measures of physical parameters of a stress response to the same extent as the child’s mother experiences these changes , w h e n t h e m o t h e r experiences a negative stress. These changes occur even when the child is not present at the actual stressful event. This indicates the child is responding to changes in the mother’s physiological state rather than to the stress itself)

Chiropractic Care and the Management of ADHD

Chiropractic Care and the Management of ADHD

ADHD… If you don’t know a kid who’s been diagnosed with it, you’re in the minority. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most controversial topics in child behaviour today. Firstly, there’s the hotly debated question over its actual existence. Followed by the heavily contested views over the medical treatment employed to manage it – the use of psychotropic drugs treating children. We covered this topic at length here.

Research Overview - Oral Health & Oral Motor Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Research Overview - Oral Health & Oral Motor Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of the type of cerebral palsy (CP) and oral motor function (OMF) on the oral health status of children and adolescents with CP in Teresina, Piauí, Brazil. The sample consisted of 52 children with CP, aged 7 to 18 years.  

Research Overview - Post Rotatory Nystagmus in Hyperactive Children with Spatial Awareness Problems

Research Overview - Post Rotatory Nystagmus in Hyperactive Children with Spatial Awareness Problems

The purpose of this study was to see if the post rotatory nystagmus test was valid for hyperactive children with spatial awareness problems. A test for nystagmus is commonly included in assessments of children with neurological problems. To determine whether such a test is valid for hyperactive children with associated spatial awareness problems, this study was initiated by comparing the post-rotatory nystagmus in such children with a group of 'normally active' children.

New Study Shows Rise In Cortisol Levels Increases Aggression in Children.

New Study Shows Rise In Cortisol Levels Increases Aggression in Children.

It’s not easy being an adolescent, all those hormones flying around wreaking havoc. But new research has found it may not be all that easy being a kid either. Particularly kids who are inclined towards aggressive behaviour. A new study1 has looked into the effects of hormones on this type of behaviour in boys and girls aged between 8 and 10

Research Overview - Neuro-Endocrinology of Mother-Child Interaction

Research Overview - Neuro-Endocrinology of Mother-Child Interaction

This paper reviewed the neuro-endocrine changes which occur during mother-infant interactions. The suckling process of breastfeeding and skin to skin contact was discussed, and how these mechanisms influence both the mother and infant’s physiology. During pregnancy, the role of the mother and the placental hormones are to sustain pregnancy, and the role of the fetus is to promote fetal growth and development. During birth, the mother and baby “are exposed to interactive sensory stimulation, which triggers the release of a cascade of hormones… the release of hormones caused by labour and birth is important for the adaptation to extra-uterine life”. Vaginal delivery was said to potentially influence the pattern of breastfeeding related oxytocin and prolactin release. Suckling induces the release of prolactin to stimulate milk production and oxytocin for milk ejection.

Developing Connection

As human beings, we are born to engage and connect with ourself, others, and the world around us.  The ability to engage socially is integral not only for survival and safety, but also for feeling connected, bonded and fulfilled.  Babies brains have around 2500 connections between each of their billion neurons at birth, and this grows, through synaptogenesis to around 15,000 per neuron. In addition to movement and other sensory stimulation, social engagement is crucial in this growth.  In a calm and safe environment, the parasympathetic system, through the vagus nerve is active, and this helps wire for calmness, bonding and connectedness. When stress is perceived, the activation of the sympathetic nervous system occurs through the HPA Axis (Hypothalmic Pituitary Adrenal), and the desire to fight or flee is activated.  It is commonly accepted that a large majority of people (adults and children alike) run on the sympathetic nervous system in daily living – busy schedules, lots of commitments, computer games, homework, projects etc, and not enough down time and active outdoor play or relaxation.
Connection occurs best in a relaxed, engaged, calm, safe environment, so this holiday season, turn down your sympathetics and turn up your parasympathetics, relax and have some fun.
 
Some tips for creating connection

  1. Be calm in yourself.  Calmness helps facilitate connection and helps a child (or indeed anyone) to feel safe.  Do this through your own daily practice of meditation, deep breathing, silent time or inspirational reading
  2. Listen, really listen.   Feeling heard generates positive feelings about self and others, and stimulates connection
  3. Make eye contact, ask questions and actively respond
  4. Play, sing, clap, play games and have fun
  5. Help kids develop resilience, and understand challenging situation
  6. Encourage curiosity and safe exploration
  7. Discover the joy
  8. Balance creative expression and boundary exploration
  9. Help them understand themselves and their world
  10. Love and appreciate them for who they truly are

Research Overview - The Chiropractic Care of Infants with Breastfeeding Difficulties

Research Overview - The Chiropractic Care of Infants with Breastfeeding Difficulties

Alcantara, Alcantara, and Alcantara provide a useful basic review of both peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature relating to the chiropractic care of infants with breastfeeding difficulties. Their findings revealed a theoretical and clinical rational for addressing infants with breastfeeding difficulties by correcting cervico-cranio-mandibular dysfunction, utilising the full spectrum of chiropractic care including spinal and extra-spinal manipulation as well as adjunctive therapies.  

Using broad search terms relating to breastfeeding difficulties through PUBMED, MANTIS, and ICL, they returned 316 hits, of which 24 met their inclusion criteria. Clarity and consistency of inclusion/exclusion criteria are important, and although the varied reports of inclusion criteria are all useful, the lack of consistency in their description is disappointing.

Supporting Breastfeeding in your Clinic

Supporting Breastfeeding in your Clinic

The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed until six months of age with breastfeeding continuing as an important part of the infant’s diet until at least two years of age. This is because there is extensive evidence on the short-term and long-term health risks of not breastfeeding for both infants and their mothers. A 2012 Cochrane review of 52 randomised controlled studies, found that all forms of breastfeeding support showed an increase in the length of time women continued to breastfeed. Face-to-face support offered the largest benefit to breastfeeding rates.
  In Australia, 96% of mothers initiate breastfeeding, but by the time their babies are 1 month old, only 61% are exclusively breastfeeding. This further decreases to only 15% of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their baby by 6 months of age.