The positions you place your baby in can have an effect on posture and development. When your baby is on his or her back in a car seat, on the floor, or supine sleeping, it can cause flattening of portions of the skull. Babies are also prone to plagiocephaly, or misshapen skull if they have conditions like congenital torticollis where there is spasm of the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the neck. Having baby nurse only on one side or bottle feeding baby on the same side can make him or her more prone to posture and head shape concerns. There are things you can do to help reduce risk of plagiocephaly.
One of the most important parts of baby ergonomics is to alternate baby's position. Try to use a baby carrier where baby is facing you rather than having his or her head up against a car seat when you are going in and out of stores or appointments. Make sure that baby fits in the carrier well and that hips are supported and at a 90 degree angle. Baby's head should be at a level where you could kiss his or her forehead. When you are feeding baby, change sides. If you are breast or chest feeding, do so from both sides when possible. If you are bottle feeding, alternating which side you are holding baby is also important. Allow baby tummy time. Being in the prone position on the tummy allows baby to strengthen his or her neck and form the cervical spine curve. It also helps baby to develop hip flexion and core strength to be able to turn over and push him or herself on to hands and knees to able able to prepare for crawling.
Watch for signs that baby my have subluxations or posture problems. Check to see if baby is turning his or her head from side to side evenly. Check to see if baby is nursing well on both sides when breast or chest feeding. Watch to see if baby's head tilts to one side regularly. Look to make sure baby's head is symmetrical from side to side. Is one eye or eyebrow higher than the other? Do you see flat spots or hair wearing away in certain areas of repeated pressure? Does baby have trouble falling or staying asleep? Does baby seem to have stiffness or difficulty raising arms or favoring one arm over the other? Does one leg seem to be longer than the other? If so, schedule an appointment for an evaluation
with a pediatric certified chiropractor in your area. For a list visit www.icpa4kids.org.