Does your baby sleep through the night? Have they established a healthy sleep pattern?
I often hear:
"Why does my baby not sleep? She cries franctically when we put her down and sleeps only after a long, exhausting cry".
Questions about baby sleep patterns and disorders are typical from frantic mums in my Cork clinic - particularily from first-time parents when they are coming across this problem for the first time.
Infant Sleep problems are distressing for both the parents and child and the cause is usually a combination of factors.
There may be several reasons why a baby does not settle, but the particular factor I am alerted to in my craniosacral work is the function of the Recticular Alarm System (RAS).
This is the system that alerts our bodies to danger and activates our flight or fight responses to that danger.
Often, when the baby has had a traumatic labour, delivery or post-delivery - especially with particular medical interventions such asvacuum, forceps or emergency c-section - their RAS may be activated and not able to switch off, even when the danger has passed. Tension is then felt in the whole body, especially affecting bowel and digestion functions.
When I work on a baby through CranioSacral Therapy, I assess the stress placed on the body by placing my hands gently on the length of the babies body - paying particular attention to areas of restriction along the spinal column and cranium.
This relaxation through the para-sympathetic nervous system allows the RAS to calm down and helps baby to EAT, DIGEST and SLEEP without care.
Baby Sarah's Story.
Baby Sarah had endured a long second stage of labour. Complications arose as the cord had worked it's way around Sarah's neck. As she pushed through the birth canal she experienced further distress. An emergency c-section was performed.
When her Mum and Dad brought Sarah to my clinic she was four weeks old and appeared anxious and very alert. Both parents were sleep-deprived as Sarah slept little and cried for no apparent reason.
Following the first therapy session, Sarah was cranky and out of sorts for the first day. After this she settled down a little easier at night.
Following the second therapy session a week later, her parents were delighted to report a much more content and happier baby.
The treatments with Sarah in my clinic were traumatic for both Sarah and her parents as she really let us know how terrifying the birth process had been for her. She did this through crying and repeating the movements of her birth.
This time her parents were there to reassure her.
This was the support she needed to let go and relax and to continue life as a secure, happy and cheerful baby!