Cervical Spine Development

If one can understand the simple process of the developing spine, that knowledge alone will help a parent support their baby when using a carrier.

A baby is born with a primary curve of the spine, and as she grows, the spine develops secondary curves to balance/distribute the weight of the body. In this blog, we will talk about the cervical spine which consists of the first seven vertebrae.

When your baby begins lifting her head, the muscles of the neck become stronger.  The strengthening of the muscles against gravity is what helps to develop the cervical spine. You'll know when this stage is complete when your baby can rest her forearms on the floor and hold her head up without assistance.

But before completion of this stage, it is of particular importance to ensure that you support your baby's head.

To carry your baby most comfortably and safely, wear your baby facing you, vertically, with her head resting on your heart and with her chin off of her chest.  It is a sure way to know her airway is open. Although some suggest using a carrier in the cradle position (the manner in which to breastfeed a baby),  it is not the safest way to carry your child.   The cradle position may restrict airflow because it puts a baby in a situation where their chin is close to their chest.  To understand what I mean, do the same.  Bring your chin to touch your chest. 
 Do you see how it restricts your airflow?  The good thing is we can lift our heads up to breathe effortlessly, but a newborn cannot.   Also, this position does not support hip development. 

Vertical positioning not only offers your baby a safer option but it requires your baby to balance his head against gravity which strengthens the neck muscles required for sitting.  Vertical positioning also helps with the stimulating the vestibular system, the system responsible for balance, proprioception, coordination, muscle tone and more.

 

Two day old Liam in  Helina Baby Carrier