CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY FOR BABIES
Parents choose to bring their newborn babies to my clinic for craniosacral therapy (CST) mainly on the recommendation of other mothers who felt that their baby was feeling better or more settled having received treatment. Some of the benefits of treatment that mums can see are that their babies become more settled, feeding and winding becomes easier and digestion, bowel movements are more regular. In general babies become more relaxed, put on weight, sleep more with less fussy periods, become more interactive and they can begin to thrive and put on weight. Mothers also notice that they feel more relaxed in themselves and and at ease because they can see that their baby is feeling better. Lactation consultants also refer mothers to me, especially if there is latching and feeding difficulties or if there is a tongue tie present.
DOES MY BABY NEED CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
- Are you having difficulty breastfeeding?
- Does your baby have a tongue tie?
- Is your baby difficult to soothe or is having sleep issues?
- Did you have unplanned interventions, such as delivery by caesarean, vacuum, or forceps?
- Was your baby born prematurely or they spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?
- Do you notice plagiocephaly? (flattened appearance of your baby’s head)
- Do you notice a torticollis? (head tilted to one side)
- Were you stressed or were there complications during the pregnancy?
- Was your baby stuck during labour or in a difficult position during birth?
- Were you and your baby separated after birth?
- Do you feel disconnected from yourself, your baby or your partner?
- Are you experiencing emotions such as fear, or some anxiety?
- Do you feel like the birthing process was traumatic for you?
WHY MY BABY MAY NEED CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY
Birth is a very stimulating journey with many twists, turns and compressions as the baby passes through the birth canal and the bones of the pelvis. The sutures in the baby’s cranium naturally overlap to reduce the head size as the baby descends. In a normal delivery the baby’s head withstands these forces. The bones of the head and face remould within a few days through yawning, sucking, through breast feeding and crying. When the bones of the cranium are free then the baby can grow and develop at ease as the brain, spine and body in general has more space in which to develop and function properly. However, difficulties can arise for the baby if the little bones become compressed or have difficulty releasing naturally. This can happen in very long or quick births, or if the baby is lying in an unusual position. Caesarean sections and births involving forceps or suction can lead to problems that aren’t always immediately apparent. Even a normal birth without interventions can cause restrictions to the head or spine.
CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY CAN HELP SPECIFICALLY WITH:
- Distressed and unsettled babies
- Excessive wind or difficulty passing wind
- Pre and post tongue tie release
- Sleep problems
- Teething issues
- Developmental Conditions
HERE IS WHAT SOME MOTHERS NOTICE AFTER TREATMENT:
- They feel calmer, more at ease and more connected to their baby.
- Breastfeeding becomes easier for both mum and baby.
- It becomes easier for their baby to release wind.
- Bowel movements are more regular and there is less straining involved.
- Babies can feel more relaxed as tension is released and they can be more content or interactive.
- Perhaps their baby is sleeping more.
- Not as restless when lying flat, travelling in car seats or fussy during nappy changes.
- It’s easier for their baby to move their head to both sides.
MUM, DAD & BABY CONNECTION
- Discover how to connect with and settle your own nervous system to benefit you, your baby and family.
- Learn grounding and breath-work techniques that help you to calm and connect with your baby.
I often get asked if there is something mum or dad can do at home to help their baby to feel more settled. This is why I include mum and dad, if present, in the treatment process. Mother and baby connection is enhanced through empathetic listening, allowing time and space for mum/dad to check in and showing breathing techniques that support the whole family. The first relationship a baby has is with its mother in the womb as she nourishes, grows and provides a safe environment. Babies know their mother’s heart rate, if she’s relaxed or if she’s stressed. Once born, a baby is then reliant on its primary care giver(s) to ensure that they get their physical and emotional needs met.
STRESSES OF LIFE
“It was then that I realised that my emotions and anxieties had a direct affect on my son. Lily helped my little boy considerably throughout the early months of his life and we reaped the benefits of that powerful positive touch. As his Mum, I benefited too”. - read full testimonial
From conception onwards babies have a sense of their growing environment. Parents’ life experiences and in particular mum’s has an influence on the developing foetus. The demands of modern life are many, managing busy schedules, juggling work and home life draw on a mother’s internal resources. Some mums to be may have experienced a previous miscarriage and be fearful of miscarrying again. There can often be concerns around becoming a good mother, work pressures and maternity leave deadlines as well as tiredness, nausea, backache along with hormonal changes.
Labour, birth and getting to hold your baby for the first time is a very exciting journey. Parents may experience both nervousness and excitement at the prospect of becoming parents and wanting the best for their baby. Perhaps expectations of how the birth would be experienced by mum weren’t as anticipated.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE
While short term stress is a normal part of life and can help us get things done, chronic stress on the other hand produces the “fight, flight or freeze” hormones. We may not be aware of it as it is regulated by a part of our nervous system that is outside of our conscious control. As there is no separation between a mother and her developing baby, these stress hormones can be passed to and also be felt by your baby. Focusing on the bigger picture can assist in giving an understanding as to why your baby may be crying, unsettled and needing that extra bit of support.
When our body is stressed we release hormones that induce the fight or flight response. Babies know if their parents are feeling anxious or concerned. Even though being concerned or worried about your baby is natural, it can result in your baby picking up on this and becoming anxious too.
REST & DIGEST RESPONSE
When our bodies begin to feel calmer and our breathing is more relaxed we move into the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” part of our nervous system. During this phase our blood pressure, heart rate, digestive functioning and hormonal levels return to normal. It becomes easier for the body to perform activities like digesting, detoxing, eliminating, building our immune systems and it is here that our bodies can heal and regenerate.
HOW DOES CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY WORK?
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on therapy. CST can assist in gently relieving areas of tightness, opening up the craniosacral system and improving nerve supply. If there is a restriction to the nerves; the Vagus Nerve, Hypoglossal, Glossopharyngeal and Spinal Accessory nerve can become interrupted as they exit from between the temporal bone and the occiput (base of the head). Blood flow into the head and drainage of fluid can also become interrupted. In babies, problems with digestion such as colic, impairment of the sucking reflex, and breathing problems can be relieved by ensuring that the nerves have enough space to work properly. The craniosacral system develops shortly after conception, when the first cell divides in the womb and forms a tube which becomes our primal spinal column. These cells then migrate to become different organs and body systems. The health of our body is organised around this midline—our spine. Structure and function are interrelated, in order to be healthy our joints, bones, muscles, nerves, organs and body systems that the nerves supply need to be free of tension, trauma and injury. No journey in life is more precious, natural or complex than that of conception, pregnancy and birth.