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Baby Steps: What Should My Child Be Doing At What Age?

When a child is born, the focus becomes that child. There are doctor appointments to make, infant groups to attend, feeding schedules to maintain, and sleep routines to develop. All of the focus is on ensuring that your child has the opportunities needed to thrive. But, what about Mom? How much education do our new mom's really receive from their medical provider team? 


More often than not, the mother's of the school aged children I see at my clinic report signs of CNS immaturity in infancy. So many of them report that they felt that "something was off" about their little one but they couldn't find the appropriate resources to support their concerns; OR that when they brought their concerns to the pediatrician, that they were brushed off or told, "they should grow out of it."


It is clear to me that there is an apparent lack in focus on educating expectant or repeat mothers on what is considered to be typical, what may be cause for concern, and when there is a need to seek help for the infant. With this insufficient source of education in my own community, it has become a passion of mine to provide mothers of all ages and experience, a resource for understanding their child's development. My hope is to encourage every mom to have a voice for their child, and feel confident advocating for their little ones when something just doesn't seem right. With more knowledge of appropriate development and a better understanding of how to advocate for their little ones, it is my wish that our Northern Nevada community can shift the rise of developmental delays, and remediate neurological dysfunction early enough that children can thrive naturally throughout early childhood and the transition into the academic setting. 

"Hello World!"

0-2 months 

A Labor of Love

You have done it! 


You have managed to grow another life in your womb. You spent so many months planning for this moment, the moment you will meet the one that you helped create. Words cannot describe your emotions. 


As you labor through the hours of pain, the hours of pushing, the moments of all modesty you had left ripped away, you persist. You endure all of this, for that final moment when you get to hold YOUR child in your arms. 


You are a MOTHER.


As you hold your infant in your arms for the first time, you experience that first jolt of oxytocin, that allows you and your child to connect. It is instant love and your child feels it too. Not only did you labor through hours of pain to bring them into this world, but they labored through hours of the contractions to meet you too.

A bond that started so many months ago has finally come to a place of calm, and you and your new baby are joined in the outside world to learn about life together. 

The Importance of the Birthing Process

Every infant is born with a set of infantile reflexes. These reflexes are the foundation for all volitional movement to be achieved within the first few years of life. Despite their importance in the outside world, they are equally as important in the womb and for the birthing process. 


As your labor begins and your infant makes their way down the birth canal, their Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex will elicit to provide flexion and extension of the head (nodding) to progress them down the birth canal. As their head emerges, Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, Spinal Galant Reflex, and Babinski Reflex will bring in spiral line activation and allow your infant to rotate their body in order to release their shoulders from the birth canal. As your child emerges fully, they will go into full extension (star fish position), and elicit phase one of their Moro Reflex (startle reflex), which will allow them to take their first breath. After this first breath, they are then placed chest down on you, resolving phase one of their Moro reflex, which bring awareness to soothing. From this position, your child will then elicit a breast crawl, establishing their midlines, releasing neck and jaw tension, and preparing themselves for their first feed. As they crawl to your breast, Rooting Reflex is elicited, and breast feeding can begin. 


It is important to note that not every birth plan goes as planned and complications all too often interfere with the wish for a natural birth. With the occurrence of unexpected circumstances, it is important for you, as a new mom, to be aware of the fact that in cases of prolonged labor, early delivery, breech birth, or C-section, elicitation of these reflexes can be minimal or enmeshment can occur and central nervous system dysfunction can be present from birth. 

1-month

In the first month of your infant's life, there is a lot of adjusting to do. The outside world is loud, bright, and full of funny smells. At this point in time, it is important for you, as a new mom, to be gentle with yourself and with your baby. Time spent at home in a quiet, dim, peaceful environment is encouraged. 


In this first month, your infants smell and hearing are strongest. They will recognize your smell and the sound of your voice, with both being very comforting to them. 


They will feed frequently and the idea sleep is a long distant memory. 


Your infant's startle reflex is still very active at this age. Swaddling or cradling is encouraged to decrease the number of times they are elicited during the day. The more they are in a flexed position, the better integration of this reflex will occur. It is definitely okay for there to be times of elicitation (undressing, bathing, sudden noise, sudden change in head position), although it is important to soothe them after elicitation has occurred. 



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Your infant should also have a more flexed position at this time, like the position they had in the womb. They will begin to stretch their muscles and elongate their posture within the next 4-6 weeks.


Tummy time is not recommended for this age, although skin to skin is acceptable. Side lying, or "C-Time" is best for helping to integrate their Moro Reflex and to help with cranial bone alignment.


Your infant should not be able to hold their head up at this time. If they are, this is indication of stress posturing and body work with a Craniosacral Therapsit, Chiropractor, or myself is recommended.