Central core muscles strength

The ‘central core’ contains the big muscles which maintain a ‘neutral’ posture in all humans – they maintain stability. Weakness or tightness leads to a deviation from the neutral position to right, left, back or front. Pilates and similar programs have developed for adults, but it has been largely ignored in the infant less than 6 weeks, when mothers were encouraged to start ‘tummy time’ exercises. A physiotherapist working with the midwife/lactation consultants at the breastfeeding clinic at Royal Women’s in Melbourne conducted a workshop in Perth in 2003 – she advised that these exercises can be started at Week 1. Simply start with lying baby on one side then the other for 3 minutes , each side, twice a day.

Consider the infant head as the ‘weight’ which is assisting with the exercise. If the neck is sore on one side or the other, gravity will ‘pull’ on the neck muscles. When you lie baby on the other side, gravity will ‘pull’ on the other side. Over 2 weeks most mothers will notice that baby is more comfortable during feeds. If not, then referral to a physiotherapist is warranted.

Nobody can swallow efficiently when the central core muscles are compromised.