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Babies and Children

It is a common belief that babies and children should have no structural stresses or strains in their bodies, because they are 'so young'. The reality is very different. Birth is one of the most stressful events of our lives. The baby is subjected to enormous forces, as the uterus pushes to expel the baby against the natural resistance of the birth canal.

The baby’s head moulds or distorts as it is squeezed through the birth canal, and many babies are born with an odd shaped head. In the first few days, the head can usually be seen to gradually lose the extreme moulded shape, as the baby suckles, cries and yawns. However, this unmoulding process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult.

Some babies cope extremely well with even quite severe retained moulding and compression, and are contented and happy. Others are visibly uncomfortable and distressed and may suffer from any of the following:

Crying, screaming, irritability The baby may be uncomfortable, with a constant feeling of pressure in the head. This may be made worse by the extra pressure on the head when lying down.

Feeding difficulties The baby takes a long time to feed and one feed merges into the next. They may be a 'windy' feeder. Feeding is difficult and tiring due to mechanical stresses through the head, face and throat.

Sickness, colic and wind Regurgitation of milk between feeds, bouts of prolonged crying due to colic and wind. Often worse in the evening.

Sleep disturbances The baby sleeps for only short periods, and may sleep little in the day (or night!). They wake to the slightest noise and are "jumpy".

As the child grows

As the child grows, the effects of a difficult birth can lead to other problems including:

Infections Retained moulding and birth stresses take their toll on the body's reserves, and also deplete the immune system. This leaves children more vulnerable to all types of infection.

Recurrent ear infections, gradually becoming more frequent. May lead to 'glue ear' and some temporary loss of hearing. Retained birth compression within and around the bones of the ear impedes fluid drainage from the ear with partial or complete blocking of the Eustachian tube. Infections may never fully clear, leaving a vulnerability to the next infection and a depleted immune system.

Sinus and dental problems Persistent mouth breathers with a constantly blocked or runny nose. The pressure from retained moulding can restrict growth of the face, so that sinuses are underdeveloped and vulnerable to congestion, and the upper jaw remains narrow which increases dental overcrowding.

Behavioural problems and learning difficulties Poor concentration, constant fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, hyperactivity. A continuation of the restlessness experienced as a young baby. Physical tension makes the child uncomfortable in one position for too long which becomes habit forming and makes concentrating difficult.

Headache, aches and pains Headaches commonly begin around the age of 7-8. Growing pains. Vulnerability to sprains, or other aches and pains.

Asthma or chest infections Physical tension in the lungs and rib cage can reduce lung capacity and aggravate a tendency to asthma. General lowered immunity leads to more chest infections. Osteopathic treatment to improve chest function can often be beneficial in helping reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.

Osteopathic treatment

Osteopathic treatment using the cranial approach is gentle, safe and effective for babies and children. Very specific, skilled, light pressure is applied where necessary to assist the natural ability of the body to release stresses and tensions.

Could there be any adverse reactions?

Reactions to treatment are variable; often the baby or child is very relaxed afterwards and sleeps well. Others have a burst of energy after treatment, usually followed by a good nights sleep. Occasionally children are unsettled after treatment. This is a temporary situation, and usually clears within 24-48 hours.

 
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