Cranial Osteopathy is a subtle, gentle, safe, non-invasive and effective form of treatment for babies and children. Osteopaths assist by encouraging the body’s natural self correcting mechanism to relieve trauma that may have occurred during birth. By working on the integral structure of the body, and looking at how bones, muscles and connective tissues work together, osteopaths will restore your baby’s body to a balance.
Issues that are commonly addressed in Cranial Osteopathy include;
- Discomfort whilst lying on his/her back;
- Head shape abnormalities;
- Breastfeeding difficulties.
- Colic or Excessive Crying;
- Sinus problems and ear infections;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Suckling/Feeding difficulties;
- Unsettled restless babies.
Childbirth is not only stressful on the mother but also on the baby. The baby is subjected to enormous forces, as the womb (uterus) pushes to expel the baby against the natural resistance of the birth canal. As the skull passes through the birth canal the bones being dis-articulated actually overlap each other to allow a smoother passage through the pelvis. In some situations, these bones may not return to their correct position and can result in problems and discomfort.
A few of the more common issues that we come across include:
Head Shape Abnormalities
A baby’s head has the remarkable ability to absorb the stresses of normal labour. It is not unusual for a baby to be born with (or develop) non-symmetrical shaped heads and bruising. This normally recedes in the first few days, as the baby cries, sucks and yawns, but sometimes the un-moulding process is incomplete, especially if the birth is challenging. Osteopaths can assist – babies are incredibly responsive to Cranial Technique because their cranial bones have not or are newly fused and the gentleness of Cranial Treatments do not shock or stress the child.
Babies who have experienced forceps delivery, a long labour or caesarean birth often require the attention of a qualified cranial osteopath. Forceps or ventouse delivery can leave tension in your baby’s head. This can be very noticeable if it has left your baby with a cone shaped head or even bruising from the forceps. You may notice that your baby is very uncomfortable and they particularly don’t like their head being touched. They may not like lying on the back of their head, or perhaps don’t like clothes going over their head, or having hats on. Cranial Osteopaths can feel these tensions and release them.
Breastfeeding can be an intimate and enjoyable experience, and yet can also be fraught with difficulties. Some mothers experience pain whilst feeding and some babies can be excessively fussy or unable to settle on the breast, and appear to tire quickly. This can be a sign of an insufficient latch. If there are mechanical stresses through the head, face and throat, feeding may be tiring for the baby. If your baby has had a traumatic delivery, such as a forceps or ventouse, it may have resulted in tightness in the bones associated with their latch. We can help babies to latch by treating the palate, jaw and nerves supplying the tongue.
One of the most common issues we see for babies under 6 months old, is reflux.
These babies can be very irritable and unsettled for long periods during the day and night. Cranial Osteopathy can assist in reducing the severity of this reflux, by treating the cranium, stomach, diaphragm and intestines.
Getting a comfortable breastfeeding position can also be challenging. The intense pressures of labour and the time a baby has spent curled up in their mothers womb can result in difficulty in finding a position in which to breastfeed comfortably. Mothers can find that their babies have a preference on which side they wish to feed. Some babies particularly favour looking to the right side, some actually struggle to turn their head to the left at all. Using alternative feeding positions can assist, but more long term solutions can be more effective. With the help of your osteopath, tensions are released that can assist in more balance and comfort with feeding position.
Babies That Need Constant Comfort
Babies that need to be held and constantly rocked and shushed have often had a traumatic or shocking delivery. They may have had head irritation through instrument delivery or possibly even a very fast delivery. A planned caesarean can also result in a stressed baby. They are often very light sleepers, or jumpy and need swaddling.
Cranial osteopathy is effective at calming anxious and unsettled babies. By calming a baby’s nervous system with cranial osteopathy this intensified state can be reduced, and you can start to experience a much happier baby.
Colic babies require a lot of attention, and can be very distressing for mother and father. The baby may cry inconsolably for several hours and may suffer from a bloated stomach. Osteopathic treatment of colic babies is very gentle and works in a way that encourages the tissues to ease and release themselves rather than applying force. Babies often enjoy it and may fall asleep during or after.
There is no single prescribed osteopathic treatment or technique for treating babies and children with constipation We work with the whole body to release tensions and stresses wherever they are found. The gut itself can be treated to relax the muscles in the wall of the gut, improving the regularity and ease of bowel movements. Osteopathic treatment of babies and children is very gentle and works in a way that encourages the tissues to ease and release themselves rather than applying force. Babies often enjoy it and may fall asleep during or after treatment.
The team at Evans Osteopaths have extensive experience working with infants, babies and children, in helping them through conditions such as colic and wind, reflux, sleep disturbances and feeding difficulties. We aim for our baby patients to leave feeling relaxed and soothed, and for parents to feel confident and reassured.
On average 2 to 6 treatments are sufficient. However, this can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the age of the child. Treatment can be done as soon as the baby is born.
The sooner an osteopath is able to diagnose and treat your baby, the easier it is for the balance within the child to be restored. Osteopathic treatment soon after birth is recommended as birth misalignment becomes progressively more difficult to correct with time.
Please contact us to learn more and to make an appointment with one of our skilled osteopaths.