How are you doing this week, friend? 

We’ve gotten some glorious and much-needed snow. As soon as I finish this email, I’m going out with my husband for a snowshoe trek up into the Sandia Mountains, just east of where we live.  For photos, you can check out my Instragam page @drarjankhalsa. We truly love where we live and all it has to offer. 

I’d love to hear about your weekend adventure, wherever you are in the world! Feel free to tag me so our community can share in your life’s enjoyments either on Facebook or Instagram.

Do you enjoy curling up with a cup of tea while reading your book? Taking long walks among the trees? Skiing? Or maybe you’re in a warm climate and can share your beach or forest adventures? Live in a city? We’d love to see that, too!

I’m not traveling too much outside of New Mexico these days, so I’d love to get a little taste of goings on out in the big wide world (I miss you!).

…..and now on to the REAL reason I wanted to reach out this week (not that talking about fun isn’t important, but there’s a balance right? Learning and having fun all together)…..I see A LOT of babies in my Chiropractic/ Craniosacral Therapy practice…..and I’ll speak more on the why’s and the how’s in another post.

Because I’m seeing so many kiddos, I’m really really seeing, now, why it’s SO important for babies to have a good start after birth to prevent so many health issues AND to start life in a peaceful place. I’m going to start devoting an email a month to baby and children’s health. This is the first of many. 

Today I want to share with you the detriments of pacifiers or ‘binkys’ as we call them here in the US. If you’re outside of the US, you may not have come across these. Quick explanation: we use them to help soothe babies when they’re fussy and the sucking motion helps them relax. They can suck on them for quite a few hours during the day and night. 

**It’s important to note that people living without ‘modern conveniences’ do NOT use pacifiers for their babies. AND they breastfeed almost solely. My dental assistant friend just told me that when they went for a dentristy mission in Kenya, they noticed a HUGE difference between the Massai people’s dental health depending on their location. Those living closer to Nairobi, versus those who lived further out. Guess which ones they consistently found perfectly-shaped jaws? You’re probably guessing those who lived further out from the city and you’d be right. I found this fascinating because I’ve always wondered how people who live closer to the earth deal with teeth issues. I think the answer is that THEY DON’T!**

Before your chest tightens up with an explosive ‘I can’t live in peace without my babies’ binky’, hold on with me for a minute. I’m not going to tell you NOT to use one.

I truly understand the why of it. Believe me, if my daughter would’ve taken to it, I would’ve used it, even knowing the detriments to her cranial development. I needed a few minutes of peace and her being able to not be on me all. the. time. 

When babies are sucking, they should ideally have a gentle tongue pressure applied to the roof of their mouth. This happens when they’re properly breastfeeding. Over hours, days, weeks and months, proper tongue pressure will help spread open the maxilla bone (see the green colored bone in the below image).

When this isn’t happening, either from muscle imbalance (we can work on this with Craniosacral TherapyMyofunctional Therapy and help from a lactation consultant) or from an obstruction such as a bottle or binky, the upper palate becomes higher and more narrow.

Notice that the green bone, the ‘Maxilla’ makes up the upper palate and jaw, the bottom portion of the nasal passages, cheek bones, lower portion of the eye socket. When the upper palate becomes higher and more narrow from improper suctioning in the baby stage, it can change the natural and normal shape of the head. 

This can lead to a host of problems either in the present or future:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Spitting up
  • Jaw issues later needing orthodontics
  • Poor latching
  • Eye strain
  • Irritation and difficulty ‘settling’
  • Thumb sucking
  • Dysregulation with swallowing, which can lead to a hyper-active gag reflex

Oftentimes, we use pacifiers because it’s the social norm. We see pictures of babies with pacifiers regularly and more babies have them in their mouths than not. When we see something regularly, that usually becomes what we’re used to.

I’d like to offer up an alternative: if you are using a pacifier with your baby ‘just because’, see if he/she can go without it. If you find that your baby really needs it so that they’re settled, consider using it a little less. 

We may also find that there’s some nervous system dysregulation that’s occurred either in-utero, from the birth process, or just after that could use some balancing and softening. Gently adjusting the cranial bones makes a HUGE difference with babies feeling more relaxed and at ease (which means mom, dad and siblings can relax and enjoy also).

I can’t tell you how many parents I have come in looking stressed and anxious and leave as a smiling, more relaxed unit walking out the door.

I’d like to share a story of just one of our little successes:

Maddie came in with her newborn son Chris, who was reliant on the pacifier for soothing. He came in with fists clenched and tight muscles across his forehead. He wasn’t gaining weight because he couldn’t hold down any milk. Mom was stressed from pumping because Chris couldn’t take in much breast milk and Maddie was in horrible pain because he was biting her every time he nursed. She was determined to continue breastfeeding at all costs.

She brought Chris to see me. Halfway through his first Craniosacral Therapy treatment, he visibly relaxed so much that Maddie’s sister, who was sitting across the room, noticed it. 

Within 3 visits, along with help from the Myofunctional Therapist, Chris was less reliant on the binky, was nursing for long periods of time, mom stopped needing to pump milk, and he’s a healthy chubby 4-month-old now and I love seeing mom and baby happy and thriving. 

These are the kinds of stories I love to share with you. Whether you’re a parent or have a little one in your life, I want to pass this along because knowledge is power, right? The more early interventions we can foster, especially within the first 6 months of life, the more ease and peace the entire family will enjoy for a lifetime.

Always in healing,

Dr. Arjan

Featured Photo by 141483092 © Yulia Gusterina |

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