Childbirth places considerable force on the baby’s head, neck and spine. A long or difficult birth with forceps or ventouse can take its toll on the baby’s body, as can a very fast or caesarean delivery. Residual birth strains can cause discomfort in the newborn and may contribute to common childhood problems including: colic; reflux; feeding and digestive difficulties; plagiocephaly (flattening of one side of the head); teething difficulties; torticollis; sleep disturbances; or general unsettledness and irritability.
I feel passionate that newborn babies should see a specialist paediatric osteopath in the first few weeks after the birth to assist the natural unmolding process, and bring your baby’s body into balance quickly. The newborn period provides a unique window of opportunity whereby I strongly believe a gentle nudge in the right direction can influence the developmental path going forwards.
Osteopathic assessment of babies considers all aspects of your baby’s health from the point of conception, the growth and development of your baby during pregnancy, birth and delivery through to childhood. After taking a detailed case history your baby’s development will be assessed, this will involve some specific reflex/mobility testing followed by a gentle structural examination. We will discuss the assessment and diagnosis together as I feel it is so important you understand what I have found and what I hope to achieve with treatment.
Very specific gentle release techniques, including cranial osteopathy, will be applied wherever necessary to encourage the natural ability of the body to release stress and tension and return to a more balanced, healthy alignment. Treatment is extremely gentle and is safe for the smallest of babies.
Sometimes the newborn period is more complex, perhaps related to prematurity or specific paediatric conditions; support from a specialist trained paediatric osteopath alongside other management teams may be beneficial to your baby.
As your child grows, you may notice signs of asymmetry in your baby or child such as a misshapen head; their ears may not be level and one may stick out more; eyes may be a different size; they may show a preference to breast feed to one side; show difficulty turning their head to one side; crawl with one foot tucked under the other or walk with one foot turned in. These imbalances may benefit from osteopathic assessment and treatment.
If your child is delayed in reaching the normal developmental milestones then your child may not be achieving its full potential. Paediatric osteopaths are trained to assess these developmental stages in infants and children. There may be contributing physical reasons for a delay, which may benefit from osteopathic treatment. For example, stiffness in the spine and pelvis can make it difficult for a baby to learn to crawl.