Infant separation anxiety at birth can happen when the natural bonding between mum and baby is disrupted.
Growing evidence shows that good bonding in the first few days of the baby’s life is crucial to the baby’s healthy development.
Let’s look at:
The Bonding process.
Millions of years of evolution have ensured that this natural bonding connects mother and baby. During the birth a “cocktail of hormones” are released consisting of endorphins (natural pain killers) and oxytocin (the hormone of love). These hormones engender feelings of love and protection in the mum and strengthen the bond that might have begun right from the beginning of pregnancy.
What interferes with bonding?
Interference with this bonding often occurs due to circumstances outside the mum’s control. The labour may have necessitated the use of drugs or other medical interventions (c-section, forceps or vacuum).
How does it affect the Mum and Baby?
After these births the newborn is often separated from the mother. A brief separation at this crucial time may result in the baby feeling anxiety that its needs are not met.
The bonding process is helped enormously if the mum and newborn are left together at this important time. (Check birth protocol of hospital).
Anxiety is replaced by physical and emotional support which allows the baby to grow into an adult able to cope with life’s stresses and troubles. Studies have shown that if left undisturbed on the mother’s abdomen babies instinctively latch on for their first feed.
This first feed allows those “love hormones” to manifest properly and do their job. The woman is given the time to transform into a mother and the baby feels welcomed, accepted and nurtured.
How can CranioSacral Therapy help?
So, how can the CranioSacral Therapist assist an infant with separation anxiety?
Let me tell you about baby Ciara who was brought to my clinic for treatment at one week old. She was having problems around feeding and settling to sleep. Her parents felt she was anxious when left alone.
Her birth was induced so mum had been given drugs to bring on labour and an epidural for pain relief. As there had been complications at the end of labour, Ciara was whisked away for tests and spent her first few days in the neo-natal clinic.
Details of the birth gave me valuable clues about Ciara’s symptoms. There was no time for love to appear and that special bond between mum and infant to form.
What happens during a treatment?
CranoSacral therapy connects with the fluid flowing around the spine and skull using a light hand touch. This therapy showed me where Ciara felt tight and uncomfortable.
Remember the newborn has been through the birth canal and been compressed completely. As these stuck areas release the tensions brought about by the birth process are let go. The baby feels both seen and listened to.
Ciara then wanted to feed and this gave mum the opportunity to connect with her baby in a powerful way.After this treatment Ciara was calm and her mum felt for the first time the feelings of love and protection for her newborn.
CranioSacral therapy provides the opportunity for both mum and baby to connect in a loving and secure way.