Can Chiropractic Care Help Baby Colic?

Infant colic is awful. Parents can be downright desperate when it comes to helping a screaming, crying, colicky baby. Unending screaming can cause sleep problems for both you and your baby, it worries most parents (Is something wrong?!), and it frankly makes everyone miserable. It's really no surprise that some people have turned to alternative medicines like chiropractic for help.

But does chiropractic care actually work on colic? To answer this question we first need to find out a little about what chiropractic is. Then we can turn to the science!

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a popular alternative medicine that claims many health ailments can be treated via the spine and nervous system. It was created by Daniel David Palmer in 1895. Palmer believed that a person's body parts could be moved around in certain positions in order to cure disease. Palmer claimed that the spirit of a deceased physician told him about chiropractic "from the other world." Before "discovering" chiropractic, Palmer claimed to heal people by using magnets.

Today, many chiropractors attempt to mix the spiritual aspects of Palmer's chiropractic with more scientific practices like massage and exercise. However, some chiropractics rely more on convention than others; many chiropractics attempt to remain true to Palmer's original chiropractic ideas. 

Will a chiropractor help my baby's colic?

Some chiropractors claim to heal infants of colic. But what does the science say?

As it turns out, chiropractic care probably will not help your baby. According to a systematic review published in 2003, “There is no convincing evidence that spinal manipulation alone can affect the duration of infantile colic symptoms.” The review was updated in 2008 with more data, and the same result was obtained again.

At this point, many parents might be thinking, "Okay, but what's the harm?" That's understandable. After all, a colicky baby can make people desperate to try just about anything to make the crying stop! Unfortunately, there could be a lot of harm in taking your baby to the chiropractor.

There have been multiple cases of chiropractors injuring infants during "treatment." In 2012, a chiropractor fractured a baby's rib. In 2013, a chiropractor broke a baby's neck, And in 1992, a baby became a quadriplegic after being treated by a chiropractor. To be clear, these injuries are not common. But they do happen, and that means that letting a chiropractor "treat" your infant does come with some risk. We certainly would not let a chiropractor treat our baby.

So what does work?

It's not easy to hear that something won't help your baby. But there are things you can try that are actually backed by science. Sometimes colic is caused by recurring infant gas problems, and there is real evidence to show that probiotics can relieve infant wind. And if you bottle-feed, consider switching to vented bottles (we highly recommend Dr. Brown's); there is research to show they can help infant gas problems. 

And don't forget that your baby's pediatrician is a great resource. It could be that unending crying is due to a medical problem, and sometimes it doesn't hurt to give the doctor a visit.

How to Properly Sterilize Baby Bottles

We go through a lot of baby bottles in our house. And baby bottles need to be sterilized. Because of potential bacterial growth, without the occasional sterilization, you risk harming your infant. And that is just not acceptable. So let’s look at what you need to know in order to properly sterilize baby bottles and nipples.

BPA

Before anything else, we need to talk about Bisphenol A (BPA).  BPA is an industrial chemical that’s found in some plastics (sometimes including baby bottles). Unfortunately, there is research to show that if your baby ingests BPA, it could harm your baby. And BPA can be released from the plastic when the plastic is heated; this can even happen in a simple kitchen dishwasher. We find this to be terrifying, and we follow the advice of some researchers who suggest parents use baby bottles without BPA.

So, if you have not already, check to see if your bottles are BPA-free. Or if you are looking for baby bottles, consider getting bottles that contain no BPA. We highly recommend Dr. Brown’s.

Just to be clear, we are not stating that all baby products that have BPA will harm your child. We cannot yet conclude that from the research. But we do know that some studies point to BPA being potentially harmful, and that is enough for many parents (including us) to buy BPA-free products (especially since they often aren’t even expensive). BPA just isn’t worth the risk, especially when it comes to vulnerable infants. 

When to Sterilize Baby Bottles

The general rule is to sterilize bottles (both plastic and glass) for the first year of your baby’s life. After the first year, your baby will likely have developed an immune system equipped to handle germs at a high enough level that sterilization is no longer necessary.

You do not, however, need to sterilize after every use. Sterilizing after each use will probably wear out your bottle nipples. Instead, just wash after each use and sterilize one or two times per week.

You should always sterilize new baby bottles. Baby bottles do not come clean; both the bottles and nipples need to be washed and sterilized before your baby ever uses the bottles.

If your infant is sick, you should especially make an effort to sterilize the bottles. You really don’t want your baby’s illness hanging around in your baby bottles or bottle parts.

Electric Bottle Sterilizer

Using an electric bottle sterilizer is by far the most convenient way to sterilize baby bottles. With a good electric sterilizer, all you have to do load up the bottles and the rest is handled for you. You don’t have to worry about a thing.

We are big fans of The First Years Power of Steam Electric Steam Sterilizer. You can use this steam sterilizer on bottles, nipples, pacifiers, small baby toys, and even some parts of breast pumps. The Power of Steam Electric Steam Sterilizer directs steam into each item being sterilized—including baby bottles—destroying potentially harmful bacteria. And once the sterilization is done, you can easily remove the trays to let the items air dry.

The First Years Power of Steam Electric Steam Sterilizer is large enough to fit multiple bottles at once, which is nice. The sterilizer is also completely BPA-free, which matters a lot with heated products. We recommend this as our preferred electric bottle sterilizer.

Microwave Sterilizer

Another option for sterilization is to use a microwave sterilizer. A quality microwave sterilizer is not difficult to use; you put in some water, add the items to be sterilized, place the sterilizer in the microwave for a few minutes, and let the items dry.

We like the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer a lot. This sterilizer is so easy to use, and it works with the overwhelming majority of household microwaves. The sterilizer is designed with a single latch, making it easy to face the sterilizer away from you when you open it, allowing you to keep the steam from getting in your face.

The Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer is BPA-free, which is a must. And to make things even better, the microwave sterilizer is really inexpensive. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Sterilize by Boiling

If you do not have an electric sterilizer or microwave sterilizer, you can always boil your baby bottles and nipples to sterilize them. This is not the easiest way to sterilize your baby products, but it works.

After you finishing washing the bottles and nipples, place in them in a clean pot with water. Bring the water to boiling, then cover the pot. Make sure that each item being sterilized is submerged in the water (not floating) once the pot is covered. Then leave the pot alone for 5-10 minutes before letting the items air dry.

4 Big Breastfeeding Myths

4 Big Breastfeeding Myths

Breastfeeding can be a controversial topic. Some people become enraged at mothers breastfeeding in publish, and others become angry at mothers who fail to even give breastfeeding a chance. The topic gets brought up a lot among moms, and unfortunately a lot of myths have begun to circulate about the practice. So here are four the biggest breastfeeding myths and why you really shouldn't worry too much about them.

Are Iron Cribs Safe?

Are Iron Cribs Safe?

Iron cribs can look wonderful in a baby nursery. But are they safe?

It's understandable that parents would worry about the safety of their child's crib. After all, infants are often in cribs unmonitored; if something was to go wrong, the parents might not even know about the problem until it was too late. To make matters worse, crib death is real, and it's a problem. The last thing you want as a parent is to put your child in at risk accidentally by purchasing a dangerous crib.