As an Osteopathic therapist, we often follow our patients through life, beginning from their active 20’s as athletes, to their 30’s when they start building their family, which allows us to help the aches and pains experienced during pregnancy. Naturally, our patients ask questions about their babies: how we might be able to assist them, when to come in for treatment, and what to look for that might indicate that their child could benefit from a treatment.
“Meow” the cat is going to help us illustrate what to look for!…
During pregnancy, some babies tend to stay in the same position, or they tuck themselves into the pelvis, which will make their body used to this position even once outside of the womb. On top of this, the birthing process and delivery, depending on the length of it (more than eight hours, or less than two hours) can cause strain due to the pressure the baby’s body is under to get through mom’s pelvis, or to similar pressure before the C-section, or even by the actions of the physician. Sometimes, babies shoulders can get stuck in mom’s pelvis, their forehead may be pressed against their mother’s tailbone, or the umbilical cord can be wrapped around them. All of these scenarios can affect their body.
When we look at your baby the treatment table, we look at their overall shape. Literally, we look at how they lay and what asymmetries they may have. A common one we see is a side-bend or banana-shaped bend to one side. This affects not only the outside of their body, but also what it contains: the internal organs (stomach, intestines, colon etc.) and connective tissues that are going to be stretched on half of the body while compressed on the opposite side, and this is sometimes found to be responsible for constipation, reflux, and other related issues.
We also look at the tension in the front of their body compared to the back of their body. A baby that cannot stand to be on his back or in a car seat, and who would rather be on its side or tummy, will often have tension making that position uncomfortable. Those can be associated to the difficulty to burp, frequent hiccups, latching improperly, or difficulty falling/staying asleep.
A baby’s abdomen can be more or less distended (stretched) depending on the time of the last feeding, but also when their digestion system is bothered. If they are getting sick, not digesting formula or their mother’s milk very well due to something in mom’s diet. Dr. Stephanie Bristow, our Naturopath, wrote a great article explaining this.
Finally, we observe your baby’s head shape. Sometimes, after a doctor’s appointment from the head shape clinic, the physician may tell you your baby’s head shape abnormality is too minor to wear a helmet. Sometimes, an abnormal shape can cause one of your baby’s tear ducts to get stuck (did you know your orbit is composed of 7 different bones?). Or sometimes, you might notice that one of your baby’s ears seems to be more open than the other. Once again, we look at the symmetry of their face, and their skull in general, in order to work on it.
A trained eye can sometimes see patterns that parents have not noticed before but that become obvious after being mentioned. Our very gentle hands-on treatments are suitable at any age. We are ready to help you as soon as you feel ready to bring your little one to the clinic. Until then, we hope that you, as a parent, get some much-needed sleep!
To book an appointment with our resident baby Osteopathic therapist, Chloé Sardin, click here!