Many first time parents find this guessing game a challenge but gradually as a routine establishes they learn to recognise what their infant’s cry means and how to satisfy their needs. But what if you have done everything (including checking with doctor or health nurse) and your infant is still crying? Are there other reasons which cause your infant’s distress?
Infants may have one, or a combination, of the above problems to cause their crying. Let’s look at each one in turn and explore them further. You may recognise aspects of the problems that relate to your infant and why he/she is crying.
1. The Birth Process.
If there has been intervention during the birth (induction, caesarean section, vacuum or forceps) or a long and heavy labour – this, in some cases, may have an ill effect on the infant’s head and back. The bones of the skull and spine, the nerves and membranes are moved out of their correct position and so cause the infant discomfort.
While these interventions were necessary for the infant’s safe delivery the excess force can override the baby’s natural ability to allow these bones to slip back into their correct position. If this is a problem for your infant you may notice that your infant tends to turn only in one direction, doesn’t like to lie flat, wants to be held in an upright position or that there are obvious bumps, cone shape or depressions on the head. Some mums notice bruising or marks at side of the head.
When these restrictions are released with the subtle touch of Craniosacral therapy - the baby is happier, sleeps and feeds better and so doesn’t need to cry.
2. Feeding and digesting.
As your infant learns to suck, swallow and breathe - their feeding pattern becomes established. Problems arise when there is a difficulty with any one of these steps. You may notice that your infant is not latching on correctly and is just using the lips to suck. This may cause sore nipples for mum and is not helping with milk flow. Check that you see the whole cheek is moving when sucking and, if breastfeeding, that the nipple is covered and no air is getting in.
In a Craniosacral treatment I would check that the bones in the mouth are free moving and this then corrects the suck. This is done with a gloved finger in the mouth and works on the bones of the palate as the baby is sucking. Often, it is this final correction done by the Craniosacral therapist that completes the process and allows the baby to feed easily.
3. Problems with Sleeping.
Infants need lots of sleep. Look out for the signs of a sleepy infant (rubbing eyes) and always finish feeding, burping and diaper change before settling baby to sleep. Swaddling your infant provides security and helps him/her fall to sleep but check that they are not too hot. Some infants like to stay close to mum for the first few weeks but it pays to establish a good routine of putting baby into the crib to sleep when you both feel ready.
Some infants may still have difficulty getting to sleep despite mum and dad doing all of the above. Many of these children would have had a difficult birth and go on to develop problems with both feeding and sleeping before I first see them.
When I treat these children I check for any areas of tightness in their body. As these release the baby sighs and relaxes. If the birth has been distressing, we take time to check the effect this has had on the infant, mum (and dad too) if needed. This helps with the bonding process which in turn helps baby to feel more secure and mum to feel more competent. It is common for baby to sleep for a long time after a Craniosacral treatment. Many parents report that they have had their first night sleep following this Craniosacral treatment.
While it is ideal to get your infant’s crying problems sorted out as soon as possible after their birth, it is also possible to address these difficulties at any stage throughout your child’s development. I have found, through working with many upset babies – that Craniosacral therapy is a very gentle and effective way of getting baby more comfortable – and providing mum and dad with a practical way of dealing with the distress that leads to crying.
For more information on chiropractic or craniosacral therapy or to book an appointment please call us at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness, 142 Erickson drive, Red Deer 403-347-3261.