11 reasons your baby should have a cranial osteopathy treatment

Forceps or ventouse delivery

Both these instrument delivery types can leave tension in your baby’s head. This can be very noticeable if it has left your baby with a “cone head” or even bruising from the forceps. With practice and experience it is possible to feel these tensions and release them, which is what cranial osteopaths can do. The skull has 26 bones and many, many joints between these bones. The treatment simply removes the tensions that have occurred from this delivery type.

You may notice that your baby has some head tensions if they are upset and crying and particularly they don’t like their head being touched on laying on the back of their head, or don’t like clothes going over their head, or having hats on. You will just know they are uncomfortable.

Breast feeding issues – LATCH

Babies not latching well can be a major problem with them feeding correctly. I personally think there is another extremely common reason babies don’t breast feed well, more on that next. The bones of the baby’s head and face are obviously involved in their latch and their sucking. Particularly the jaw bone and the joint that connects the jaw to the ear bones and then all the bones and joints that are connected and associated to these bones. Basically the whole head and neck! If your baby has had a traumatic delivery, such as a forceps or ventouse delivery it may have caused some tightness in the bones associated with their latch. If the latch isn’t good then feeding can be difficult, painful and they can take air in and be colicky.

Breast feeding issues – position

I find this one of the most common causes of breast feeding difficulties. And it’s not the mothers fault! Very often after the intense pressures of labour and the time a baby has spent curled up in their mothers womb leaves them physically unable to find a comfortable position to lay in to breast feed well. Most babies really favour looking to the right side, some actually struggle to turn their head to the left at all. You may have noticed this, have a look for yourself.

If this is the case then your baby will find it hard to feed off your right breast as they can’t turn in to that side well. You would have to use a rugby ball hold to help this. But using a rugby ball hold is just a temporary fix and actually holding that pattern, when instead, by releasing tensions you can actually help the baby feed nicely whatever position they are laying in and turning their head to.

Cranial osteopathy is an extremely effective way to make breast feeding easier for you and even be preventative of having to give up when you don’t want to.

Constantly sucking

Babies that constantly suck, graze, snack or cluster feed can be a big cause of mothers giving up breast feeding due to pain and exhaustion. It is very common that these babies are sucking for comfort not because they are hungry. They can even throw up the milk they have drunk as they are full already.

They are sucking for two reasons, the sucking motion is calming to them and releases pain relieving chemicals and the sucking motion actually relieves tension in their head. Secondly, if a baby has had a traumatic delivery which has irritated their head, such as forceps, ventouse or getting stuck then they will love to suck as it gives them relief from these irritations. Cranial osteopathy can relieve these tensions and then the baby no longer needs to suck on the breast or dummy for relief and instead is happier and calmer, only feeding when they are actually hungry.

Needs to be held

Babies that need to be held and constantly rocked and shushed have often had a traumatic or shocking / surprising delivery. They may have had head irritation through instrument delivery but surprisingly they may have had a very fast delivery that has that has put them into a state of stress or anxiety, a bit like having too many coffee’s for an adult. They are often very light sleepers, or jumpy and need swaddling. I have found that babies that have been exposed to some sort of stress around or just before delivery can be like this too. Babies that have had a planned C-section are particularly like this.

Cranial osteopathy is fantastic at calming this anxious and annoyed state in a baby. It has the amazing ability through a gentle physical touch to calm their emotional state, a bit like you having a lovely calming massage, except it is far, far more gentle.

Your baby has to be swaddled as they are jumpy

See above

They are a Meerkat baby (have a stiff back that arches)

A Meerkat baby is one that has a strong or stiff neck. When you hold them up on your shoulder they lift their head up seeming like they have a “strong” neck. Little babies don’t really have a strong neck, it’s more that they are stiff. They can really arch backwards and throw themselves away from you so you have to hold onto them tight.

The delivery these babies have had is usually quite long and they may have got stuck or even been very low down and engaged for a longtime prior to the actual delivery. All it means is that they have spent a long time with their head having contractions on as they curve down the birth canal. They have basically stayed in this compressed shape. This can make them cranky and upset and not sleep. They may not like laying down on their back. It is much better when these babies are nice a soft and more relaxed and calm in your arms, which cranial osteopathy can help with.

They are a Little Frog baby (always have knees curled up in a little ball)

So many parents nick name their baby a “Little Frog”. These babies have their knees up all the time and want to be on your shoulder with their knees tucked up and under. If you put them on their back their legs come up and can even drop to the side so they lay on their side.

When the baby is in a their mothers womb they are curled up in this frog position, or foetal position. The delivery process down the birth canal actually stretches them out. However, if the delivery was very fast (usually a second or third baby) or was a C-section then the baby doesn’t get stretched out so they stay in a little ball.

It’s very helpful to have these babies “unwound” so their legs drop down and they are straighter and seem longer. Can you picture that when you feed your baby so its tummy is full of milk and they then bring their knees up the milk won’t be able to comfortably pass through their tummy? Some babies bring their knees up so much it can actually push the milk back out and reflux it. Also if there are other factors causing your baby to create lots of wind then this will become easily trapped if their knees are being pulled right up. This could give them colicky wind pain.

Planned C-section

I spoke about “little frog” babies after C-section. This is especially true of planned C-section babies but planned C-section babies also commonly have other issues so they get a section to themselves (no pun intended).

Planned C-section babies can be very ratty! Just constantly upset, crying and not happy and no smiles. 🙁

I put this down to the way that they have had a surprising entry into the world with no warning. Picture yourself in bed fast asleep and at 2 am someone comes in, pulls the duvet off, switches the light on and throws a bucket of water over you! That could be what it’s like for a baby coming into the world when they are pulled out into the operating theatre.

It’s this “surprise” that can sometimes stay with a baby and keep them on edge and ratty. They can be “wired”, jumpy, not going into a deep sleep and they wake at the slightest noise. They may also sleep better if they are swaddled as their own jumpiness can wake them up.

By calming a baby’s nervous system with cranial osteopathy this “wired” state can be reduced and they can start to sleep better, stop crying and you can start to experience a happy baby.

The delivery was stressful

I realise that all deliveries have a element of stress but some can really have more than others. If an emergency C-setcion is needed or if instruments have to be used, or perhaps the baby was born naturally but the delivery was long, or extremely fast then it could be felt as stressful to the mother. As mentioned in the planned C-section paragraph these babies can hold onto this stress or trauma and remain upset. Again, very gently helping these babies calm down can be so beneficial.

Just have a check up!

Many parents hear through personal recommendation from other parents how fantastic cranial osteopathy is and bring their baby in for a check up soon after delivery. The treatment in this case just simply checks the alignment of their baby. They may have had extreme pressures through the delivery process which leaves them in a little ball, or arching stiffly or even bending to one side like a banana. The treatment gently unwinds them so they are straight and happier.

Watch a video of Christian Bates treat a baby here:
If you would like to book your baby in for help please call The Perrymount on 01444 410944. The list of issues described here is not the be all and end all, there are many other factors that can upset your baby. Feel free to call the clinic or email Christian Bates for advice on

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