A Sleeping Baby – How Osteopathy Helps

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A Mother’s Story: How cranial osteopathy meant Henry (and his parents!) could finally get a good night’s sleep.

Right from the start, Henry had never been a great sleeper and was always restless. Then at 9 months old things just got worse when his sleep became even more disturbed. He would wake up at least once a night, wide awake, crying and screaming for up to four hours.

It was at the point of exhaustion that his mother got in touch with the Osteopath.

“I took Henry for a half hour treatment — and that night he slept through for the first time in nearly 2 months. At first, I just wondered if it was a coincidence. But from that night on we haven’t looked back. Not only did he sleep through after the first treatment, he has slept through every night since! And his sleep is so much more settled than it has ever been.”

— The Osteopath

“Cranial Osteopathy is a superb treatment for babies for all sorts of conditions but its benefits are not widely known. It’s certainly not the first thing a parent thinks about when their baby has colic, is struggling to sleep or has problems feeding. However, the fact of the matter is that we are now seeing increasing numbers of newborns with great success.”

— The Osteopath

Just like Henry! His mum says that making an appointment was the best thing they could have done!

“The treatment is very calming and soothing, just like a mini head massage. Henry loved it! It is something that I cannot recommend highly enough. It’s painless and extremely effective. Thank you so much for giving us our sanity back and making night times a much more peaceful experience for both Henry and us!”

— Henry’s mum

How will I know if my baby will benefit from cranial osteopathy?

The most common reasons a parent would bring their baby for treatment are:
Colic – episodes of crying which last for 3 or more hours a day, often worse in the evening. Legs are pulled up to the stomach and the cry is often high pitched and piercing. (Henry’s cry was good and vigorous but it was getting too much and was obviously distressing him – as well as Mum and Dad!)

Feeding problems — difficulty latching on, sickness after feeds (not related to illness or disease)
Sleep problems — difficulty getting to sleep, waking frequently during the night (often crying)

“We think these symptoms often come about because the bones of the skull have been compressed during the birth process. The bones of a young child are soft and mouldable and the skull bones are designed to overlap to allow easier passage through the birth canal.”

— The Osteopath

Babies with these problems have often experienced a difficult birth, either long, slow and complicated or very fast. In a difficult birth, pressure of the bones at the top of the neck causes compression of the occipital bone (the back and floor of the skull). The occipital bone is made of 5 pieces in a newborn and there are some important nerves which pass out through holes in the occipital bone. Compression of the vagus nerve, which controls the stomach, may be responsible for colic symptoms whilst compression of the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the tongue, can cause feeding difficulties.

What happens during an examination?

When we examine a baby we will check to see if the bones of the skull are free and mobile. If not we use the gentle cranial osteopathy technique to loosen and free off the restricted areas. Don’t worry, most children find this quite a relaxing experience and it is not unusual for babies to fall asleep while we work on them! If the problem does involve compression of the skull, it usual only takes 3-4 treatment sessions for the problem to settle.

Older children are not always keen to sit still while we work on them so, as with Henry, we encourage Mums and Dads to bring toys and books to keep their attention while we work. Even mobile phones! (Henry loved one of the nursery rhyme apps!)