It is commonly thought that because babies are so young they are unlikely to have any serious structural issues. This is not always the case. Just consider the structural forces present in the birth process for your baby.
During birth huge forces are placed on the baby’s head and body as it moves down the birth canal. The baby’s head is normally chin to chest as this presents the smallest part of the head to allow for easier passage and the baby will have to turn and twist as it comes through. The baby’s head is amazingly adapted to this process with its skull plates overlapping to reduce the head size and this is why your baby’s head is sometimes mis-shapen after birth and takes some time to get back into a more normal shape.
Natural processes such as yawning, crying and sucking serve to help the head’s natural re-moulding process. One of the signs of a baby who is dealing with the strains of this process, can be a baby that wants to suck all the time as it tries to allow strains to resolve. Head-banging babies and teeth grinders when older are also sometimes caused by birth strains.
Some cranial osteopaths believe that the moulding of the baby’s head during birth is an essential part of development and thus when babies are born by cesear and miss out on this huge compression, they actually can also suffer from structural issues for different reasons.
So what does this have to do with crying babies? If your baby has colic I would strongly advise taking your baby to a qualified cranial osteopath or a chiropractor who has paediatric qualifications and treats infants. Using gentle touch they can assess if your baby has any obvious structural strains from birth and also whether there are some subtle membrane strains.
If your baby has had any additional birth trauma such as getting stuck in the birth canal, it is common for deep tissue strains to be present. For example, strains across the diaphragmatic tissue can produce digestive issues resulting in distension, pain and/or constipation. The skull bones should move relatively freely and so any gentle treatments are designed to allow free and natural movement of the skull to accommodate growth and development.
So what are the main signs that might indicate that a structural assessment is required?
Julie Fendall, Cranial Osteopath at CBD Health Sydney, suggests to look for some of the following signs:
Irritability & difficulty settling
Disturbed sleep patterns
Feeding difficulties such as problems with attachment and sucking
Digestive issues – colic, excessive positing, wind or reflux
Obvious asymmetries in head shape, bruising or swelling over the scalp or face
Recurrent infections such as sticky eye, ‘snuffly’ nose, coughing, wheezing or and recurrent ear infections
Asymmetry in movement – a preference to feed from one side, only turning the head one way
I also discussed this with a colleague Dr Jack Ricci who is a chiropractor in California. His approach starts with looking at the emotional stressors in the baby and nutrition before he examines the baby for general levels of tension or resistance. He then makes very gentle adjustments with the kind of pressure you would tolerate on your eyeball. Babies are generally very responsive to treatment and no pain is felt during these tiny adjustments. After a treatment “babies should feel instantaneous release in the abdominal area” says Dr Ricci.
It is my experience that after both cranial osteopathy and paediatric chiropractic work, babies fall asleep after the session which allows their body to integrate this amazing treatment. So if you are wondering if structural issues lie at the heart of your baby’s crying, I suggest you go and find out by visiting either a cranial osteopath or chiropractor trained in paediatrics and see how they can help. After the treatment I always advise giving your baby a single dose of arnica 30 which supports the work that the structural treatment has begun.
Happy Homeopathic prescribing :