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Sensory Nourishment

baby being held and smilingThe way we perceive our environment through our 5 senses, has a direct relationship with how well our brains will coordinate our body.

Think of a chess game – when one player makes their turn, it triggers a cascade which will influence how the next player does so too. Our brains and bodies work in similar communication, constantly assessing and dependent on the other one’s move or information they provide.
It is with this information that the brain can send out appropriate commands or responses for movement, sleep, digestion, and development alike.

A young baby uses information from sensory perception to gain an awareness of the environment they are in, and go on to trigger brain connections for development and growth.

For example, spending time on their tummy allows for the posterior chain muscles to fire directly into the brain and support developing posture and tone, which in turn forms the connections that will go on to foster those next developmental milestones of rolling, sitting, crawling and then walking.

Supporting through Sensory Nourishment

Ways in which we can support this sequence of events is through sensory nourishment. We recommend deep pressure massage over a baby’s joints, using your hands with a firm and broad grip. This is beneficial for babies and children of all ages, especially when they are feeling wound up, overstimulated or overwhelmed. Beginning this from newborn age provides calming sensory input to the brain, whilst also stimulating those vital pathways of development.
It is essential to do this on both sides of the body as you gently massage their arms and legs.

Another way we can support sensory nourishment is through wrapping or swaddling a newborn. In a similar way to deep pressure massage, a swaddle may provide comfort and a feeling of security to a newborn baby. Keeping their legs and hips free to move, we regularly use a swaddle during and after your child’s chiropractic check in support of their adjustment.

As we mentioned before, tummy time is a wonderful opportunity for sensory brain nourishment, and can be benefitted from by both babies and adults alike!

Ways we can support this for a newborn could be:

  • Held against your chest whilst in the shower or out for a walk
  • Laying on the floor with you for a short time if they are happy to and are attempting to lift their head
  • Have baby laying on your chest (airways clear) as you lay flat on a supportive surface

Another great one is swiss ball rocking. Laying the baby on the ball, supporting their hips and pelvis you can gently rock them forwards and backwards a few times each way

As your child grows and can support themselves, “Superman” or “Superwoman” poses on their stomach around the house or playground are fun and nourishing movements for the brain.

As chiropractors, when we think of sensory input we acknowledge the beautiful window that this may provide for brain development, nourishment and support through all ages.

Fostering this from a young age helps to form the pathways for optimal health and as we say at Advanced Health Chiropractic, this really is “where the magic happens.”

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