My wife just delivered our third son. The oldest was born in the hospital and the other two were born at home. With my views and practices on health outcomes, I get a lot of questions about what we do during and after pregnancy with our kids.
What is of interest is that as a parent, and if you’re one too, all you want is your child to be healthy and happy. The point of interest is that so many people have different ways of trying to achieve those outcomes, especially the healthy part. Here’s the basic journey we took with our 3 boys. As of yet, none have had an ear infection. None have taken an antibiotic. None has ever been given a fever reducer. None, except for our oldest, has ever seen a traditional doctor. The oldest went to two ‘well baby’ visits when we were fresh into the parenting thing.
We quickly realized that the sole purpose of the well visits was to give vaccines and since we were denying them, we were pretty confident in weighing and measuring our own children if we were really curious. If there was a problem we were concerned about, we wouldn’t hesitate to got to a traditional doc but that hasn’t been the case as of yet. I’m sure as they age, we’ll probably have a couple ER visits in our future.
After the Baby is Born
With all 3 boys, we waited until the umbilical cord was done pulsating and essentially empty until the cord was cut. In the most recent birth, the placenta was delivered shortly after the baby, so the baby was still attached to the placenta but no longer attached to mom. Our blood is one of the most protected entities in our body. We have a lot of defenses built in before something can invade the blood.
With the baby getting all his nourishment from the placenta to his belly button, we want to make sure he gets it all.
Hepatitis B Shot
If you’ve read anything on my site, it’s probably vaccine related. That seems to get the most play in the social world. Really, I’m not anti-vaccine. I’m pro-health and pro risk analysis. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease spread by unprotected sex or shared IV drug needles. None of my boys fall into that category. If they do later in life, it still makes zero sense to give a newborn the Hep B vaccine since the best guess long term effectiveness of the shot is 5 years.
If they are ditching school for whore houses and shooting up meth, we have bigger problems than their potential to contract Hepatitis B.
Vitamin K Shot
We also denied the Vitamin K shot with all 3 of our boys. Going in, we had planned this. Thankfully, all 3 deliveries were without any interventions. Vitamin K is recommended to help the blood clotting cascade in the body. The biggest risk for the need for clotting is post trauma or injury. If the birth experiences were different and there was trauma involved in the delivery process like suction, forceps, clamps, c-section, or just a long delivery process with no progression, we may have changed our minds.
So far in all 3 instances, there were no bruising or evidence of a poor clotting metabolism. The body isn’t stupid and contains more wisdom in one DNA strand that far exceeds the cumulative intelligence of all the doctors on the planet.
Our midwife was in favor of the Vitamin K shot. We were not since our labor and delivery were essentially smooth. We were also denying circumcision, another major trauma to a baby boy. If we were going to perform a circumcision, the we would probably reconsider the vitamin K shot.
From a religious perspective, we have no ties to circumcision. We’re not Jewish and the Good News of Jesus Christ pertains to the Gentiles like my family. Circumcision isn’t a salvation issue. If we were Jewish, we would have probably done a tradition circumcision ceremony on the 8th day.
From a health perspective, there’s nothing to show that circumcised boys have a better outcome than uncircumcised boys. In fact, I would argue it’s another insult to the nervous system in a world where there are already too many knocks against the delicate nervous system of an infant. A new born’s nervous system will, at all costs, limit inflammation since inflammation destroys brain development.
If circumcision was the ONLY thing you did, it’s probably not a big deal but this comes 8 days after a baby has already had numerous potential nervous system insults. There is the potential he was drugged up with ptosin and an epidural. He was potentially delivered with force. He’s been jabbed with vitamin K and hepatitis B. He’s been washed, soaked with eye ointment, and potentially been fed foods that are cow’s milk and sugar based. All things that are a major shock to the nervous system.
Surprise surprise, we didn’t do the antibiotic eye ointment in the newborn’s eyes. For one, my wife has never had an STD that would warrant a pre-emptive dose of antibiotics, “just in case.” If there’s one thing I constantly see when taking care of kids with chronic health problems is that there is an underlying deficiency of healthy bacteria for the baby. With more and more research coming out about the amazing benefits of our natural bacterial flora for long term quality and quantity of life, killing bacteria off in the name of “standard of care” doesn’t interest us.
Antibiotics are for treatment, not for prevention.
We didn’t wash any of our kids for at least a week after being born. For one reason, there is a slew of antimicrobial and moisturizing benefits in that “white stuff” called vernix on the baby. Maybe you don’t need the eye ointment after all?
Not to always come back to the nervous system, but it is the master organizer and coordinator of your life. To bathe your child right away, especially in a hospital, means you have to separate mom and baby. There’s a connection between mom and newborn that has been vital since time began. Now science is trying to quantify it.
Mother–infant interaction in early postnatal life, or lack of it in case of separation, can mediate variations in offspring phenotype, including emotional and cognitive development, with long-term health consequences.
The brain stem is at the top of the spinal cord where the head and neck join. The brain stem is the most developed area of your baby’s brain at birth. It will control reflexes of crying, startling, and suckling. It also regulates breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Even REM sleep is controlled via the infant’s brain stem.
As a chiropractor, I made certain to check the area at the base of the skull and top of the neck on our kids as soon as I could post birth to make sure there wasn’t any physical stressor, like a subluxation, that would be another added insult to the nervous system. The majority of the brain’s nutrition is generated via movement along the spine. Any altered movement pathways or deficiencies will cause the nervous system to go into protection mode, a part of the nervous system that has no benefit to the infant until later in life.
This is why poor posture and chronic sitting are now being described as detrimental to overall health as smoking, even with those that exercise regularly. Movement is how the brain recharges. Altered movement pathways, whether that’s being sedentary or subluxation, causes the nervous system to shift and adapt. One of the most common areas of altered movement pathways is at the base of the skull.
The area between the skull and neck also houses the Vagus Nerve, which has branches to virtually every vital organ below the neck. The vagus nerve travels to the thyroid, stomach, heart, and colon to name a few. I get parents bringing in babies because they aren’t pooping. Often times, a subluxation to this area beneath the skull and top of the neck is one of the major contributors to the underlying problem.
Do What’s Best For You
You have to have your own post-birth plan and this plan may alter based on labor and delivery. All 3 pregnancies for our family were low risk and no complications. You may or may not share the same experience. If not, you probably had different post-partum care. One’s not right or wrong. This is just what we did and because so many in office ask about it, I thought I would share.
You may think all these things are little things. Alone they are but illness is never a single event. It’s the accumulation of small events. These after birth events that seem relatively small happen when the nervous system is in it’s most primed state of development.
Think about it. This baby, only 40 weeks ago, was 1 cell. It grew and developed for only 9-10 months before mom pushes out an organism than has full function. In an instant, this baby went from “breathing” and feeding through a tube at the belly to spontaneously not needing that source of nourishment and instead being able to rely on totally different body parts to accomplish the same task. It went from an environment total submerged in fluid to one of big people with cold hands pulling and tugging and jabbing.
Imagine you’re dozing off, laying in the sun, a perfect 78 degrees with no humidity. Your kid thinks he is funny and recruits 10 of his friends to dump buckets of ice cold water on your body. It’s a major shock to the nervous system. Imagine that same shock on a scale we will never consciously understand as a new born. Just when you think it’s over, another 10 gallons of ice water get dumped on you. The more this happens, the more your nervous system is on alert. You learn that when you go to lay in the sun, you better not fall asleep.
The repeated shocks to the nervous system cause your nervous system to learn. Your nervous system is plastic. The more input into it, the more it learns and creates default pathways for reacting to life. With an infant, their nervous system is so pure and ready to receive stimulus. The more you can control what stimulus they are exposed to, the better you allow their nervous system to develop.
Remember, the nervous system organizes and coordinates life into protection and/or growth. Think of the protection side as your attempt to escape a bear attack. Think of the growth side as your REM sleep. Babies should be residing on this growth side. Anything that shifts them into protection mode, shifts them away from growth. The more protection is accumulated, the more the child has the chance at developing neurological delays and alterations from behavior, immune system, digestion, and hormone regulation.
Do what’s comfortable for you. Much of your after birth choices will be dictated on what happened during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.