GRAND Magazine - September/October 2013 - (Page 50-51)

grandchildren health Ducky butt, not tucky butt! promoting the healthy development of your grandbaby’s back and neck Click image to watch Esther’s TED speech on “primal posture.” by estHer GokHALe W GM: You advocate holding and carrying babies to encourage “ducky butt” and “J spine.” Why? The J spine is the natural shape we observe in infants. In a J spine, the pelvis is slightly anteverted at the lumbar-sacral junction. It literally puts the behind behind, which is why it resembles a “ducky butt.” This position allows the bones of the spine to stack vertically, which is the ideal posture for healthy back/neck development. In a C spine, the pelvis goes the other way and tucks under—hence, “tucky butt.” This puts the spine into a curved, slouched-over C shape. The S spine, with chin up and chest out, is so common in our society that it is regarded as normal, but it actually involves some degree of sway back—that is, over-contraction in the lumbar area—and a corresponding rounding forward in the upper back and/or neck. 50 GRAND september october 2013 pHoto creDIt: ©stU99 e recently asked pain expert and posture guru Esther Gokhale—founder of the Gokhale Method Institute and author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back—for advice on how to, and not to, hold and carry babies. Many parents and grandparents cradle the infant in a fetal curve, whereby the infant’s spine hangs in a C shape. When holding and feeding an infant, it is far better to provide the support of a bent leg or cushion so the baby’s spine can enjoy healthy length. When seated on the floor, babies automatically sit right on their sitting bones without slumping or slouching—that is, not tucked under, but rather, tipped slightly forward. From this foundation, babies exhibit straight spines from the low back up through the neck, so the head is beautifully balanced. Because babies do this naturally when they are ready to sit up unaided, there is no strain and the head does not have to be “held up.” If an infant is constantly propped up before he is ready to sit, he will probably slump forward, tucking his pelvis and collapsing into his chest. So, when baby becomes able to sit on her own, let her sit on your forearm with her pelvis tipped forward, and her spine will naturally stack up without any difficulty. During the early formative years, the neural pathways are still forming. The baby’s brain, muscles, and bones are developing and learning what constitutes head control, crawling, sitting, standing, and so forth. Most, if not all, models of childhood development propose that getting these foundations wrong will cause health problems later on. Allowing the natural J spine posture early on encourages a lifetime of good posture and healthier backs and necks. click to read the complete interview, which includes more expert advice on healthy posture and on slings/carriers, strollers, car seats, and highchairs. september october 2013 GRAND 51

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2013

GRAND Magazine - September/October 2013
Congratulations 2013 GRANDparent of the Year Honorees!
Hooray for Grandparents, Ingenuity, and ICE!
GRAND Magazine Best of the Web Awards
Rockin’ the World
Leaving a Legacy
Don Miguel Ruiz: Our Sacred Agreement to Grandchildren
Keepsakes from the Heart
Do Kids Under 5 Get Too Much Screen Time?
Let the Learning Games Begin!
Falling into the Grandma Zone
A Special Grandmother
Ducky Butt, Not Tucky Butt!
GRAND Sponsor: ClearSounds Communications
Terrific Tech Gadgets for the Whole Family
The ABCs of Grandparenting: Who’s Teaching Whom?
Can Bribery Warm a Cold Shoulder?
Keep Your Marriage from Becoming a Casualty of Caregiving
Hidden Treasures

GRAND Magazine - September/October 2013