“Breastfed babies use all of their mom’s milk, so they don’t poop as much.” It’s one of the most well-intentioned myths I think we tell mothers. This was likely started to assure breastfeeding moms that they were on the right track, but it really doesn’t pass the common sense test. YES, breastmilk is as perfect as a food as it gets for babies. But all of the breastfed babies in my office that are moving their bowels at least once a day are not making poop out of thin air. If a baby isn’t making #2 at least every other day, we have a problem.
Little Adam, 2 months old, was his mother’s 3rd cesarean birth and things were pretty uneventful for the first 3 weeks of life. His latch was good, but progressively he seemed restless at night. Eventually the fussy periods increased, Adam became gassy and generally seemed uncomfortable. His mother tried homeopathics and gas relief drops but the symptoms really didn’t change. The pediatrician had determined Adam had colic, and as many parents have been told “He’d grow out of it.” Adam’s mom told me she didn’t want to wait 2 months to see if he was right. By the time he was brought to my office it had been a week since her baby had a bowel movement.
During our initial assessment my major concern was that a few of the hard wired primitive reflexes weren’t firing right. These responses are measurements of the health of the neurons located in the brainstem, and it’s fairly common for newborns in my office who have had a difficult delivery to suffer microtrauma to these upper neck areas. Adam’s head had been engaged and ready for birth when the doctor performed the surgery, and from the asymmetrical misshaping of his cranium it was pretty reasonable to presume the OB had to do some significant maneuvering to pull him out of the lower pelvis. This unavoidable traction force during a surgical birth is the #1 reason I recommend all c-section babies at least get checked by a pediatric chiropractor.
By the end of the exam I explained to Adam’s mom that there were four possibilities for why his body was responding with these symptoms. First, if the direct lines of communication between the brain and the intestines have static in the channel, the organs can’t do what they’re supposed to do. Adam had a subluxation at the 2nd lumbar vertebra, which is one of the exits for a plexus of nerves that relay information to the intestines. Second, Adam had subluxations at his occiput where the skull meets the top vertebra and at his sacrum, or tailbone. The neurons that exit through here help balance the fight or flight system that pull nerve information and blood flow away from the organs. The front part of our brains help suppress that fight or flight system, and Adam’s was showing evidence that it wasn’t fully switched on yet. That meant that inside he was physiologically running from a bear, so digesting his food was the last thing on his mind. The majority of the cases I see resolve by addressing the direct subluxation or the autonomic nerve system imbalance; however I told Adam’s mom that we would explore probiotics in a week, as she was taking some but he was not, and a food sensitivity test if the body didn’t start functioning differently within 3 weeks.
After the first visit Adam’s mom told me that he had the worst smelling gas she’d ever smelled. Hearing that from a mother of three means something. The next visit he moved his bowels, and by the third visit he’d had two poops in the course of the week. His body was getting progressively more relaxed at night and the time she’d dread- the witching hour between 5-6 pm- was passing without Adam going into beast mode. The swamp gas smell improved all week, thank goodness. I’m going to monitor his progress next week and likely recommend probiotics. C-section babies need all the help they can get when it comes to rebuilding their gut health, but I’m always scientific in my approach and want to see how much improvement can be made through subluxation correction first.