How can chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy treatments help your new baby? Suzie Skipper, a&u Health Editor asks the experts.
As a mum of four, I know babies can be very different. My second child was very unsettled until about 3 months and had difficulty feeding, while my third amazingly slept through the night from about 6 weeks. Being a mum – whether it is the first or fourth time – comes with lots of challenges, insecurities and sleepless nights!
“All these feelings are natural, but if you are in a situation where you are not sure what to do, especially if your baby is unsettled, there is plenty of help out there, including seeking the help of a professional,” says Dr Ioná Bramati-Castellarin, Osteopath & Naturopath at IBC Care.
“Everyone worries about the baby during the birth process, especially if it is a long labour, but mothers and babies are adapted for birth, even though it may not feel like it at the time!” Stephen Hughes, Director and Chiropractor at The Octagon Chiropractic Clinic. “We look to see if the baby has any tension or slight restriction in his or her muscles that might affect its ability to turn its head or open its mouth to feed properly,” says Stephen, adding that on babies they use an extremely gentle, unwinding technique.
WHAT IS CRANIAL OSTEOPATHY?
Many mums rave about taking their babies to see a cranial osteopath for colic, poor feeding or just generally being unsettled. But what exactly is it? “Gentle touch is applied to the baby’s head and body, enabling the inherent ability of the body to release stresses and balance itself,” explains Ioná.
At the start of your first appointment, the osteopath will ask you questions about your baby’s medical history and any symptoms you have noticed. They will also ask about the pregnancy, delivery and information about both parents’ health and family history. “This will help the osteopath make an accurate diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment.”
The baby’s position in the uterus can reflect on compressive forces through the baby’s body that in turn can potentially lead into certain strains. “For example, if your baby was lying in a breach position during pregnancy it may influence the positioning of the hips after birth. If forceps were used during delivery this may put compressive forces on the baby’s skull which in turn may influence the mechanics of the sinus’ drainage and ear canal,” explains Ioná.
Your osteopath will then assess your baby’s reflexes, joint movements, muscular tone, head positioning and feeding. Once a diagnosis has been reached, the osteopath may recommend cranial treatment or a referral to your GP/Health Visitor. It is important to note that not all osteopaths are trained in paediatric care, which requires a post-graduate qualification in paediatric osteopathy.