Craniopathy for Newborns
Cranial work for newborns can be a life changing experience for both the baby and the parents. The birth process, whether a vaginal birth or cesarean, is a traumatic experience for most babies. Even before labor begins, there are pressures the baby’s cranium from the mother’s pelvis. Labor and travel through the birth canal forces the cranial molding which allows the plates to overlap. Over the next 24 hours after birth, the plates return back to their normal position. However, sometimes these plates do not return to their normal position or in the case of a cesarean, the molding and subsequent release is skipped and the newborns cranium is still effected by the pressures of the mother’s pelvis. When these plates do not return to their normal position, pressure and torsion (or twisting) occurs in the cranium.
When a newborn has tension within the cranium, many symptoms can results. Parents may notice bumps, ridges or asymmetrical features on their baby’s heads. Asymmetrical facial features such as uneven ears, one eye that looks as if it is smaller than the other, uneven eyebrows, difficulty opening one eye or one jaw opening wider than the other are also common clues of cranial torsion. These asymmetries are the outward physical features that we notice in the baby. The symptomology that follows because of this tension and torsion in the cranium can include:
• Difficulty latching/sucking, difficulty staying on the breast while nursing, clicking while sucking
• Irritability/ Colic
• Excessive gas/ abdominal upset/ poor digestion
• Breathing difficulties/grunting
• Torticollis/favoring turning head to one side over the other
• Excessive spitting up
• Arching of the body while crying, or a baby who has been “so strong she can hold her head up” since birth
Newborn craniopathy is a comfortable, non-force technique that allows the baby’s cranial plates to expand and return to their normal position. It is a technique of soft holds and mobilizations, as opposed to the faster movements typically associated with chiropractic adjustments. It rarely causes any discomfort and often the baby lies quite comfortable and relaxed.
It is the nursing difficulties that are essential in being treated as soon as possible. A positive and effective breastfeeding relationship between a mother and her baby is of the utmost importance. However, if any of the other symptoms are noticed, it is equally as beneficial to seek an evaluation. It is much easier and takes fewer treatments to correct cranial tension the younger the baby. Dr. Stratton has treated many newborns within hours of their birth – it’s never too early to have your child evaluated for cranial issues.