Babies and Cranial Osteopathy
Most babies are OK
The majority of babies are born without injury or trauma.
A normal birth pushes and twists the baby through the birth canal. The head is like a soft, pliable, membranous balloon. It can cope quite well with the squeezing and stretching and it has an inherent tendency to self-correct to a symmetrical shape soon after birth.
The sudden change in pressure caused by the surgical incision tends to shock the baby and the lack of squeezing stimulation often results in a cranium which feels very symmetrical but passive, as if the system hasn't really got going. It seems to me that the normal birth process acts like a stimulating, whole-body massage. I often find that babies born by C-section are "hyper-vigilant" tending to be quite jumpy and easily startled. Usually one or two treatments relaxes the baby and the trauma is quickly forgotten.
During birth the baby's neck may be bent strongly backwards, compressing the soft bones at the top of the neck and base of the skull. If the self correcting mechanism is unable to release this compression the baby will be left with a neck which is only comfortable when the head is bent back. Such a baby will not enjoy lying on its back or being in any position which bends the head forward. It is also a good idea to check whether your baby has full range of neck rotation, sometimes a baby will find it difficult or painful to turn to one side.
In an emergency when forceps are used to assist the delivery, the skill of the operator is crucial. The head may be strongly squeezed when they are applied and if the forceps are not applied symmetrically the head can be accidentally injured.
How can cranial osteopathy help babies
The baby's head is the area that most parents are concerned about and the reason that they seek help from cranial osteopaths like myself. Sometimes the head will look squashed or dented or otherwise misshapen. Sometimes the baby or young child will be distressed, sleeping badly, or crying a lot.
See my Special Topics article on babies and head shape
See my Special Topics article on pelvic girdle pain