I was so blessed to hang out with 7-week old-Ida in Anchorage Alaska last week. She has a wonderful temperament and is very strong for her age. She's so strong mostly because her parents make sure to give her plenty of Tummy Time daily, which is a prime way for infants to develop the important muscles along their spine. It's especially good for developing neck stability. She wowed us with her cobra pose, the cute little yogi, and has already wowed internet audiences by developing the ability to roll from front to back at an early 5 weeks.
She was having some irregular bowel movements, 2-3 movements in one day and then pausing a few days until the next bowel movement.
Infant Medical Massage
To help regulate her bowels, I showed her mom how to do some Infant Tuina, a Chinese medical massage, that is very gentle. We focused on her abdomen, with light touch, we traced our fingers from the center of her torso down and out to her sides under the lower border of her ribcage. This movement, which is good for generally regulating the bowels, is best done for a couple minutes.
Next, to help release the bowels, we traced our fingers or hands with light touch in a clock wise direction around her umbilicus. (One could rub the other direction to slow the bowels.)
We did the Tuina daily and on the second day, I used the Tickle Pen to regulate Ida's major digestive channels; the Stomach (Foot Yang Ming) meridian and Large Intestine (Hang Yang Ming) meridian. I focused the treatment on major digestive points: Large Intestine 4 which is very activating and helps the bowels descend and purge, and Stomach 36 which harmonizes the digestion and strengthens the body.
She didn't mind the treatment at all. In fact, she beautifully napped through it in her mom's arms.
On the third day, Ida produced to sizeable bowel movements, and we celebrated with a happy dance. I don't know yet whether the pattern of irregularity was broken, and it's likely that returning to her regular bedtime helped just as much as the acupuncture. Because the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments builds with repetition, I would expect to see a continued increase in regularity had I stayed in Anchorage to treat Ida longer. Nevertheless, the younger the child, the more effective the treatment, since our bodies are most resilient in our earliest years.
This is the reason I love treating young children, toddlers and babies. Not only because because it's easier to correct health imbalances in early childhood, but because when we make the body stronger through acupuncture in early childhood, we augment that child's baseline of health for her whole life.
Ida's mom Laura Avellaneda-Cruz is a remarkable educator and advocate for healthy families, check out her blog at: http://www.lauritadianita.info/