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Understanding Cranial Osteopathy for Babies

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Written by Mindi Cotton | Posted on January 13, 2019
Understanding Cranial Osteopathy for Babies

What is Cranial Treatment for Babies?

You may have heard of a gentle form treatment called “Cranial Osteopathy” or “Cranio-Sacral Therapy.”for babies. This is a technique developed by American Osteopath W G Sutherland, who noticed the incredible architecturally intricate nature of the skull bones and spent many years studying the bones and theorising on the may they fit together and move. He felt a slow rhythmic tide of fluid passing through the brain and body. Restrictions in the structures of the head and body inhibit the free flow of these fluids, leading to health and behaviour changed in babies, children and adults.

How does Baby Cranial work?

When your baby is born, even with a caesarian delivery, the delicate bones of the baby’s head are strained, compressed or stretched. This is quite normal. At this young age the bones are very soft, and are very elastic and pliable so they can weather the birth process, which as you may know by now can be quite dramatic! The baby head is designed to “mould” or change, and then recover after the birth. The mother’s birth pushes may be sufficiently strong that, just like when you are older, the joints between the bones are strained, and may even hurt. The baby might have a headache, but has no way of understanding or letting you know, except by complaining!

The nerves that pass between or through the bones (through fine tunnels or “foramina”) may be irritated. If the vagus nerve (this means “wanderer” as it passes down through the body) is affected, this will affect the digestion of the baby, leading to trouble with feeding, reflux, tummy discomfort, or just present as a general state of malcontent, irritability or difficulty sleeping. Sounds familiar?

A highly trained Cranial Osteopath, with extraordinary delicacy and skill, can feel the position and motion of these bones and the fine membranes underneath. By gently encouraging normal position and motion, the baby feels more comfortable.

The fine nature of the work is hard to grasp, with a young baby. The touch must be very light, so that the movement is encouraged rather than restricted. This is why the technique is safe for a newborn, and Cranial Osteopaths routinely attend births and see very young or premature babies.

The Temporal Bone
This bone sits on the side of the head and contains the delicate hearing and balance mechanisms. You can see from it’s position how birth might affect this bone, upsetting the nerves in a baby. One of our techniques can reposition the temporal bone, making baby more comfortable and happy.

By Anatomography - en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jpLink

Baby Cranial Teaching Melinda teaches cranial for baby in our clinic
Baby Cranial Teaching Melinda teaches cranial for baby in our clinic

Is Baby Cranial Safe?

Baby Cranial has no known risks, as the touch is so delicate it cannot physically hurt the baby. Your practitioner must be fully trained in baby health, and we do not recommend you see a practitioner of other disciplines who does cranial work or cranio-sacral therapy as an extra, saying they can treat “Colic”.

All our practitioners are fully trained, and Melinda our SW6 Baby Team Lead has over 30 years of experience of treating babies, and is routinely called upon by Doctors and specialists for second opinions or to treat their own babies.

The only real risk of Cranial For Baby is if something more important is missed and the opportunity for referral is missed. We work closely with midwives and paediatricians and always refer to the appropriate specialist if there are any worries about your baby. If you have any concerns, call and Melinda can discuss your baby with you on the phone.

The newborn skull

The newborn skull

Can Baby Cranial Help my Baby?

Melinda Cotton, Fulham Osteopath Baby Cranial Consultant, supports our local Fulham breastfeeding group.

Many parents bring babies for digestion and feeding issues. In our experience Baby cranial will often, but not always, help. What is often most helpful is having an experienced professional listen to your birth story, and how you are doing with all the new skills of motherhood. Often a combnation of advice, baby cranial treatment and care of mum is required. Mother and baby are really closely bonded, and rely on each other. To look after baby, you must also make sure you look after yourself. Get help, work around the baby not get the baby to work around you.

Here is some interesting reading about the close bond between mother and baby:

by Michel Odent (Author)

We also specialise in babies with head shape issues . If you are concerned about your baby head shape, read Melinda’s interesting Parent’s guide to Plagocephaly (flat head syndrome)

What Conditions can Baby Cranial Treatment help?

Baby Cranial treatment will depend on the tissue involved. It involves a careful listening to the rhythms of baby and gently encouraging normal function.

Strain of the neck; torticollis, stiff neck

-The muscles and joints of baby’s neck may be strained, and baby cranial helps to relax the whoole head and neck, promoting ease, movement and healing. Breastfeeding becomes more comfortable for mother and baby

Head moulding and bruising

-Baby cranial very gently eases the delicate skull bones of baby into their right position, so the tissues can begin to heal

Shock and breathing

-Very often the baby is holding on with their breathing or breathing in shallow breaths. Baby Cranial works with the “cranial Mechanism”, which as it settles down so the linked breathing becomes more even and relaxed.

Mindi with a baby

"After a couple of sessions … I have seen an immense improvement"

Category; Osteopathy and Natural Therapies

"I came to know about cranial osteopathy for babies after meeting Melinda and Elyse at the breastfeeding cafe. Both Melinda and Elyse observed that my 4 month old daughter was very tense in her upper body and wasn’t relaxed. I had struggled to get her to relax and feed sufficiently which is what took me to the breastfeeding cafe initially. However, had I not, I would have assumed that my daughters uptight posture was normal. After a couple of sessions with Elyse I have seen an immense improvement in how relaxed my daughter is. She is able to spend more time doing tummy time and actually enjoys it too as she can now explore her surroundings without being so rigid... she’s now moving the way she should have been from birth. Not to mention our feeding sessions have been so much calmer. Also, due to a complicated ventouse delivery my daughter had some misshaping of her head. Although the GP said it would improve with time, I have noticed a significant improvement with her head shape in just a few sessions. I would highly recommend Elyse as she has a great demeanour with babies; she was professional and patient. My daughter also loved the toys in the room, which were so helpful on the occasions I forgot my daughters favourite toys at home ? Many thanks to Melinda and Elyse!

Written by: Shireen Rahhal - Google Review

Osteopathy Treatment Melinda and Elyse

5 / 5 stars

769 Fulham Road, Fulham, London, SW6 5HA
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