Breast feeding or bottle feeding. This can be quite an intense debate among parents of newborns. Regardless of how the baby is fed, there is something important that parents can miss.
When your newborn is being fed, it makes sense that one side of her body has less freedom than the other because it’s up against your body. The baby can mainly move her head or body in one direction – away from you. When breastfeeding, this is corrected when the baby moves over to the other breast.
Switching Sides Is Key To Bottle Feeding
This seemingly simple thing is important because switching sides allows for a balanced input of sensation, movement and perception into the baby’s central nervous system. This is necessary for proper development.
While bottle feeding, switching sides is less intuitive. You’re more likely to use your dominant hand to hold the bottle because it’s more comfortable. The baby ends up in the same position during every (or most) feedings.
Over time, this causes an imbalance in how the baby develops and senses the world, even affecting muscle development. The baby will have decreased movement to one side, which can lead to torticollis (head tilt). It can also result in plagiocephaly (flatness of the skull). Due to decreased muscle development on one side, it’s easier for him to turn to one side more than the other. When laying down this ‘side favouritism’ can lead to a flattened area on his head.
What do you do about it if you are bottle feeding? Initially, feed with the bottle in your non dominant hand only. Do this for about a week or so. Then split between both sides during each feeding time. To enhance the results, carry your baby around in your non dominant hand when not feeding to increase his time looking in the other direction.
However, if you think that the one-sided habits have already affected your baby because she likes to look to one side more than the other, or there’s a flatness developing, a consultation with a pediatric chiropractor is the next step. Caught early enough, these symptoms can be reversed.