Happiness of being close!

Valentina Karpova
, Neurologist, osteopathic practitioner,
Vice-rector for academic Affairs of the Russian higher school of osteopathic medicine,

17 April 2017

Dear kind, loving and anxious parents! In this article we will focus on our newborn children and on our joint life journey, full of joy and harmony. We will concentrate on what kind of support we can give to our infants. How to contribute to the development of attachment between a baby and an adult. How to ensure a healthy environment for active growth and development for your child. Also, we will advise you on how to help the baby to cope with the body tension through osteopathy.

Currently, you can find a lot of information about the child ‘s needs and find ways to meet them. One of the first needs of the baby is the formation of attachment. John Bowlby, the founder of attachment theory, wrote about the evolutionary attachment suggesting that children biologically and psychologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. Lyudmila Petranovskaya writes in her book called “A secret support: attachment in a child’s life” that “the child’s need for a caring adult – the need which is vital”.

Secure attachment is when children feel that they can rely on significant adults who are able to meet their needs for intimacy, emotional support and protection. That is why we would like to be with the child as much time as possible. After all, the baby needs us. Janusz Korczak, the great Polish teacher, writer, doctor and a public figure, wrote: “If each young mother would know about the importance of these first days and weeks not only for the health of the child today, but for the future of both”.

In order to provide a mother or other caregiver with this close contact, the ability to simultaneously do some household chores and simply be active, various “devices” for “caring a baby to full term” after the birth were invented. This is especially relevant for premature babies. They particularly need to be in close contact with their mother, to listen, to hear her and to mature owing to this close relationship.

“If each young mother would know about the importance of these first days and weeks not only for the health of the child today, but for the future of both”.

Janusz Korczak

Lyudmila Petranovskaya calls the first three months after birth as the fourth trimester of pregnancy. The baby in this period of time feels as if he/she is between two worlds or as if he/she has not fully come to us yet. He/she sleeps a lot, eats and keeps wake a little. The task of an adult is to make the transition to our world as smooth, peaceful and joyful as possible.

Current talks about the need “not to hold your baby in your arms” are outdated and have shown to be ineffective. The time of holding your baby in your arms flies by quickly and the parents who already have children, try to enjoy this moment here and now. This intimacy satisfies both the need of a child in care and parents’ need for a healthy contact. That is why we tenderly respond to this need for the first months after baby’s birth. According to Lyudmila Petranovskaya “when the need is completely and deeply satisfied, there is no necessity to hold it any longer”. Therefore, children who were “fully held in parents’ arms” become more independent toddlers who are not captured by the needs.

“Children «fully held in parents’ arms” become more independent toddlers”.

Lyudmila Petranovskaya, “A secret support: attachment in a child’s life”

In the first year of life, says Erik Erikson, a child develops through social interaction, the advantage of which is trust and disadvantage is mistrust. The infant’s degree of trust to others and in him/herself to a large extent depends on how well the caregivers response to his/her needs.

In our rhythm of life parents wish to be more mobile and active, continue to do what they enjoy doing and at the same time to be close with the baby, that is why “babywearing” is rapidly gaining in popularity. Lots of devices have been created for this purpose, such as: ergonomic buckle carriers, slings, SlingTankTops. Panga SlingTankTops for instance are an innovative and comfortable invention. It is a cozy place for the baby to stay closer to his mother or other caregivers. It is particularly important to use the SlingTankTop in the first months after birth. However, the crucial thing is to use a certified product.

As an osteopathic practitioner I am often faced with the problems of baby’s adaptation to the outside world. The most common disturbances which trouble the baby are: the complexity of the process of establishing breastfeeding, recurrent stomachaches, abdominal cramps, constipation, regurgitation, infant irritability, sleeping difficulty, frequent night waking, underdeveloped hip joints.

Carrying our newborn babies in Panga SlingTankTop, slings and ergonomic buckle carriers helps to cope with many problems. Mother’s body warmth comforts the child and reduces symptoms of abdominal cramps. An upright position relieves regurgitation faster, frequent body contact helps to establish and prolong the breastfeeding process. The correct position of the infant’s hip joints with the required degree of split improves blood circulation in this part of the body and helps to solve the problem of underdevelopment.

Undoubtedly, an infant should spend some time of active wakefulness out of the carrier or his/her crib in order to “work out” a body tension through the muscles contraction of the extremities and torso.

In the process of natural growth and development of infant a large amount of existing dysfunctions are eliminated because of the great body compensatory abilities. However, in some cases, if injuries and deformations gained during the childbirth process were not independently offset, then osteopath’s assistance is required.

During the period of active wakefulness the baby slowly begins to acquire motor skills. For instance, he/she learns to hold his/her head up, to grasp some objects in his/her hands, to reach out some interesting toys and closely examines adults’ faces. The child learns to communicate with the outside world through the cooing, keeps an “eyes to eyes” contact with adults, examines the mouth of an adult and is trying to repeat the pronounced sounds.

That is why the time of active wakefulness is also needed, especially after 3 months, when the baby begins to spend the most of the time on his/her belly.

During the period of active wakefulness the baby slowly begins to acquire motor skills.

Also the child should have the opportunity to sleep on a flat surface of the crib in order to rest his/her musculoskeletal system. In this position the blood flow to the muscles and to all the units of the musculoskeletal system improves helping a proper relaxation.

A happy medium should be met in all the aspects of baby’s development. For instance, carrying the child in close contact with a parent in a SlingTankTop must be combined with the time spent out of the carrier.

If the baby cannot cope with the difficulties in breastfeeding process, has tensions in the body or other worries, then he/she should be shown to a breastfeeding specialist, a pediatrician or to an osteopathic physician in order to help the child and to create a necessary support to the body tissues.

Dr. Viola Frymann was one of the most known osteopathic physicians in the world, working with the newborn infants, argues that they should be examined within the first few days of their life. She writes: “Musculoskeletal strains originating at the time of birth may cause problems for a child for the rest of his/her life…Thus, recognition and treatment of dysfunction of the spine in the immediate postnatal period represent one of the most, if not the most, important phases of preventive medicine in the practice of osteopathic medicine”.

Osteopathic impact is intended to help the body to actively engage the mechanisms of self-regulation and to cope with the problem using, if necessary, the latent reserves of the body.
I wish You and Your children health, harmony, joy and new discoveries on the way of knowledge of our world!

Valentina Karpova

osteopathic practitioner,
Vice-rector for academic Affairs of the Russian higher school of osteopathic medicine,
the member of the Russian Osteopathic Association.

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