In the womb, the first system to independently form is your baby brain. At first breath your baby’s brain is about 12 ounces, 25% of its full size and is made up of approximately 100 billion brain cells. These cells and your baby’s brain have yet to grow. In fact, at birth your baby’s brain is the ONLY organ not fully formed. Very few synaptic connections exist at birth, only enough to regulate breath, heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism and vital functions. As they mature, the baby’s brain cells, called neurons, get larger, stronger, and form tentacle -like branches in order to connect and communicate with other neurons and set the stage for how they will survive and thrive in life – their ability to rationalize, sense the world about them, express emotion, listen, communicate, and learn. This is the true essence of a baby’s brain development.
After birth, the baby brain will grow in sequential form from the bottom up – from the brain stem, the least complex area, to the cerebral cortex, the most complex area. During the first year, the average baby will add slightly more tissue to its brain than it will add throughout the rest of its life. By age two, roughly 80 percent of the brain is intact. By age six, the brain is almost 90 percent of its adult size and possesses approximately 1,000 trillion synapses. Your child’s brain grows asymmetrically in the first 6 years of life. Year 1-2 the Right side develops and increases in complexity. Years 3-5 the Left brain develops and increase in complexity. Year 6-10 the brain hemispheres develop in unison through the age of 10; when the brain reaches 90% of its adult size and foundation. In approximately 1 year your baby will grow from a curled flexed codependent infant, to standing, walking, and attempting words.
Proper Alignment and Skull Symmetry Play an Imperative Roll in Your Baby’s Brain and Nervous System Development
What drives this rapid development in the first 1- years of life? It is the ability of your baby to move their head, neck, and limbs. According to multiple studies in the Journal of Pediatrics, skull deformation and head/neck mis-alignment, as a result of mechanical stress (intrauterine constraint, birth trauma and uniform sleeping position) is very common in infants. Research done by Miller and Clarrn found that 39.7% of children with deformation received special help in primary school and concluded: ‘Children with deformational skull and head posture comprise a high risk group for developmental difficulties’ Research done by scoliosis expert A. Joshua Woggon, is demonstrating a rise in infantile scoliosis, something that used to be very rare. It is speculated that this significant rise in incidence is related to birth trauma and back lying sleeping postures for infants.
Nerves of the Head and Neck, and your baby’s brain:
- Head posture and motion is the most important part of sensory integration and brain stimulation/feedback loop that drives development of the brain.
- Muscle spindles in the neck carry the highest significance and density/has the highest influence that may affect sensory-motor integration and brain development.
- Improper, asymmetric, or lack of motion of skull, neck, or head affects brain stimulation, which is necessary for the brain to diversify and become more complex.
- This can cause delays or interruptions in proper balanced nerve development.
- Any developmental delay could cause or be linked to incoordination, delayed language, hyper-immune responses, digestive issues, allergies or sensitivities, ear infections, immune weakness, leaky gut (to name a few)
- Significant lags in the development due to imbalanced brain growth in the first 5 years of life, may not become obvious until 6-10 years of age
- Improper alignment, and movement of the spine during the years 1-2 of life can affect how the Left brain grows
- Improper alignment, and movement of the spine during the years 3-5 of life can affect how the Right brain grows
- Improper alignment, and movement of the spine during the years 6-10 of life can affect inter hemisphere communication
Ultimately statistics are demonstrating that subluxations (biomechanical deficiencies in motion, alignment, and posture affecting heath) can be present very early in life and that is why Pediatric Chiropractic baby, infant, and child well checks are imperative to insure proper growth and development of your baby’s brain, especially in the first 6 years of life. Interventions using gentle, safe, pediatric Chiropractic adjustments can correct and balance the alignment and posture of your child, supporting an optimal environment for your child to grow and thrive.
If you or someone you know has a child, suffering with developmental delays, sensory issues, breastfeeding issues, torticollis, allergies, digestion issues or if your family does not have a Chiropractor as a part of your healthcare team, request an appointment with us today. In Bozeman, Dr. Kimberly Maxwell at Abundant Health Family Chiropractic is THE go-to resource for the health and wellbeing of your entire family, starting with prenatal care! Being 20 years in practice, you can trust her expertise and experience in serving you and your family, keeping you healthy, well, and wise.
P.S. If you’d like more scientific information about your baby and their brain. Brain Rules, a series written by Dr. John Medina, is full of information that is easy for you to interpret, even without a medical degree. Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant. He is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine
P.S.S – Another great resource for families with children “on the spectrum, or who have been diagnosed with sensory related challenges” , The book Disconnected Child, by Dr. Robert Melillo is a great resource.