I am excited to start treating from Mundaring Wellness Centre behind Cafe Mojo next week. This is a beautiful space, especially this time of year with spring arriving, and they make healthy and delicious food too. Why not make a day of it – book a treatment and have lunch.
Cranio can help any member of the family to connect to their body. To feel more balanced and calm and to build resilience. The therapy is perfect for settling the nervous system so that the body feels safe and better able to make inspired life choices. Many people report noticing their body in a new way that brings the unconscious to the surface. If you haven’t heard of it I encourage you to give it a try to see if it is a good fit for you. Click here for more info.
I have an appt available this Monday at 11.30am for those who don’t mind booking their self care spontaneously. Or contact me to find a time that works for you.
This week I worked with two mothers who were struggling with low supply due to insuffient glandular tissue (IGT). They didn’t feel their milk come in, they had minimal breast growth during pregnancy and they were needing to top up with almost full feeds of formula. Noone had mentioned to them the possiblity of IGT.
IGT is not well known among health professionals working with mothers and babies, or other mums. They are often given well meaning advice that does not work and may feel as though they are doing something wrong or failing their baby. They are not! Unfortunately there is not a lot of research behind this heartbreaking condition. Diana Cassar-Uhl (IBCLC) has contributed to the field of knowledge through research and written a fantastic book. We do know that the glandular tissue, where milk is made and stored, is underdeveloped, but not necessarily why. It can be hormonal or due to circumstances surrounding periods of breast development (inutero and during the teenage years). Mums may make as little as a few drops of milk or up to 3/4 of the milk, but despite their best efforts to increase supply need to supplement with formula (or donor milk).
It is often not until they consult with an IBCLC that they understand the reasons behind their milk supply struggles and then get to set realistic expectations around increasing supply or to make peace with their breastfeeding journey. Understanding their body and its limitations clears any doubt or confusion. IBCLC’s do have tools up their sleeve to support mums to work out exactly how much milk they make and tools to support supplementing at the breast. Ultimately the diagnosis can be healing in and of itself.
If this resonates please seek the emotional support and knowledge of an IBCLC. Contact me if you are in Perth or would like an online consult.
For a more detailed discussion of IGT see this resource.
I recently had three sets of twins book in for the low-cost baby cranio clinic, which got me thinking about I can best support twin babies. Two babies often means twice the price!
Instead I decided to offer the second twin half price.
Plus, knowing how hard it is to get out of the house with two babies, I am waiving the travel fee for home visits.
Twin babies are often born early, and spend time away from mum in special care. In order to support their survival, they are often subject to lots of medical procedures (including tubes for breathing and feeding). The “non-doing” touch during a cranio treatment is a welcome relief to the nervous system. Cranio can support them to switch out of survival mode, to build energy for feeding and to thrive.
A home visit for twins is now $90. Please share with anyone you know who has twins or contact me to make an appt.
My second son was super unsettled. I remember it being one of the most difficult seasons of my life; looking after a screaming, unhappy baby and a toddler. I became suspicious that something I was eating was causing his discomfort. Apart from the constant crying, the only other symptom he had was constant nasal congestion (and significant cradle cap) – no blood in the stools, no rashes. I was quickly dismissed by doctors; told its normal for babies to cry.
Now I know that it was cows’ milk protein that was the issue! I want to share my story as someone who tried and failed to cut dairy from my diet (as a breastfeeding mother) and continued to breastfeed my son for over 2 years. Also to share what worked to lessen symptoms for my son (who is now ten years old, still eats dairy and no longer suffers from chronic nasal congestion). I know this information is helpful to all the breastfeeding mothers and babies that I frequently work with who are navigating this path. There can be a temptation to wean to formula, but formula itself is derived from cows’ milk protein and special formulas are often expensive, taste terrible and may be hard to access.
Cows’ milk allergy (CMA) is taken more seriously by doctors, than cows’ milk protein intolerance (CMPI). CMPI causes discomfort and often the baby is reported to be “thriving” because they are gaining weight. Whereas, CMA has more serious consequences (eg low infant weight gain, skin rashes, hives). And what about lactose intolerance? Is that an issue in babies? Lactose is the sugar component of milk. It is plentiful in human milk too. Eliminating lactose from the diet will not eliminate lactose from breastmilk. It is very rare for babies to have primary lactose intolerance, it’s often not the lactose that’s the problem, but the protein (casein, whey).
There is a lot of misinformation and confusion, even among health professionals. Amidst this confusion, parents of babies with CMPI are unsupported by the medical system. The burden lies with the mother who suffers through those precious early days, her heart breaking over not being able to help her unhappy baby and often no one in the family getting much sleep. In my case, health professionals were quick to offer me treatment in the form of antidepressants, which I refused. With a background in mental health nursing, I knew it was a situational crisis – the answer lay in finding the root cause of my son’s discomfort (and now it’s a passion of mine to encourage all mothers to do this!).
When he was a few weeks old, I decided to trial cutting out dairy from my diet and failed miserably! I normally eat like a bird, so reducing a major food group left me feeling more tired, stressed and miserable than I was already (and hungry!). I would do fine for days then demolish a large bar of chocolate – feeling really guilty. I really craved my morning cup of tea (with milk). I do feel I am strong willed by nature, but not in this department. Joy Anderson* (Dietitian and IBCLC) who specialised in this area, makes mention that the more addicted you are to a food, the more likely it is to be the offending substance.
Time passed and the intensity of those first few months faded as his attention was directed more at the outside world and less on internal sensations. Still the nasal congestion didn’t go – he was a really snotty kid with frequent ear infections (often babies will grow out of their food sensitivities, but my sons stuck around). I was told by another doctor that he had hayfever. It wasn’t an environmental sensitivity, it was food. My maternal gut instincts were confirmed, when at the age of six he told me “Mummy every time I drink milk, I get snotty”.
I am now reflecting on what has worked to reduce nasal congestion for my son over the years (he also found it unrealistic to give up dairy) as I currently implement this strategy in order to treat my dermatitis. If you are finding that dairy is contributing to your baby’s symptoms and are freaking out at the thought of giving it up. Here’s what I found in our case:
A2 milk is a lifesaver! My son may get a little bit snotty but he is able to clear it. I feel regular milk causes inflammation (aswell as mucus) that makes nasal passages difficult to clear. A2 milk has a protein that is better tolerated by those who are sensitive to A1 protein (found in most milk products).
Butter and cream are mostly fat, with a little bit of milk protein and may be tolerated.
Avoid processed foods with milk products in them (e.g. milk solids, skim milk powder).
Eat chocolate that is dairy free (e.g.dark chocolate or raw chocolate).
Cheese and yoghurt can be less troublesome for sensitive folk (with my son its hit and miss). The addition of enzymes (in cheese) and the fermentation process (in yoghurt) change the structure of the protein making it easier to digest for some.
Cutting out dairy for 2-3 weeks is often first line strategy for suspected cows milk sensitivity. For some mothers it is easy, for others its impossible. Some mothers may be able to get away with a low dairy intake.
*This is my story of my journey and what I have learnt along the way but it may not work for everyone. For more support there are dietitians who work with breastfeeding dyads who can provide individualised advice.
Please contact me if you suspect your baby has a cows milk sensitivity. As someone who has walked the path personally, and worked with lots of breastfeeding mothers with sensitive, unsettled babies, I can support you in working out the cause of your baby’s discomfort. Phone consults, clinic and home visits available.
I’m super excited to receive cranio myself this weekend. These days I tend to schedule cranio every 3-4 weeks for maintainance. I had to cancel my last appt due to a spontaneous family holiday (so I am over due for a session – I can feel it). I know I need a cranio treatment when I start to feel moody or down, when the little voice in my head seems louder and more critical.
When I first started treatment three years ago I gifted myself weekly sessions for a while, as I peeled back layers of history from my body. Slowly releasing patterns of experience that no longer served me. I reconnected with my pelvis and womb space after a traumatic experience birthing my first child. For days after each session I would notice rushes of feel-good hormones coursing through my body. Cranio was resourcing me. As time went on I was able to space out sessions, noticing a lasting sense of balance and resilience – increased emotional regulation and a sense of physical and energetic alignment.
Regular cranio for me, contributes to a sense of flow in my life, I feel I can trust myself and my body to guide me in making the right decisions for me, my relationships have blossomed and I feel more motivated and confident to be exactly who I am – no apologies.
I am so grateful to have found this wonderful therapy, its the difference between surviving and thriving!
If you feel drawn to experience cranio, see this page for more details about what to expect and prices.
Did you know that cranio can help to wake up sleepy babies? I have worked with many babies whose mothers have plenty of milk but they are unable to stay awake long enough to drink it. This is a frustrating situation. Relying on a breast pump and topping up with a bottle is a full time job and also runs the risk of bottle preference (where baby gets used to a constant flow of milk).
Sometimes there is a tongue tie that is causing the baby to tire when breastfeeding.
Sometimes they are born too early. This includes babies induced. Being born at 38 weeks may be considered 2-4 weeks early for that particular baby.
Sometimes there has been a medicated birth and the baby has not fully integrated the medication / anaesthesia into their system. Anaesthesia or opioid medication has a dissociative effect on the nervous system. It is helpful because there is a temporary separation from a painful experience but on a more subtle level, there is a separation from the body.
This is where cranio comes in. I have treated sleepy babies who are not yet fully present in their bodies due to a medicated birth – one session of cranio can bring them out of a dissociative state and into the present moment – it breaks the pattern in the nervous system. This is why cranio is also helpful for anyone who has recently undergone surgery.
*I say all this with no judgement. I, too, have had a highly medicated, induced birth. My son was too sleepy to breastfeed when he was born and his first feed was a bottle of formula. I didn’t know about cranio back then (or expressing colostrum) and wish I was able to arrange this gentle treatment for my son.
After 4.5 years at Baby Steps Health Centre, I have made the decision to leave so that I can focus fully on building Flow Cranio & Lactation. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working there and am grateful to the team for their support and expertise.
But all good things must come to an end.
If you first met me through Baby Steps please let your friends and family know to book me for lactation support through my business rather than the clinic.
If you, or your baby, have benefited from my lactation or cranio support – please tell your family or friends or other mothers at mothers group. Or consider writing a google or Facebook review.
The topic of posterior tongue tie (PTT) and lip tie (LT) is a controversial one. Research is limited and opinions are divided. I have worked with mums who have found treating these issues to make all the difference in their breastfeeding journey. However I do have concerns around some current practices including:
routine stretches / oral exercises / active wound management
laser frenectomy for breastfeeding problems that have not been thoroughly assessed by an IBCLC
laser frenectomy for babies to prevent future issues
The prescription of routine stretches/exercises after a laser frenectomy varies between providers. These are well intentioned, with the idea that they will prevent the lingual frenulum from reattaching or scarring. A recent client was advised to do them 6 times a day, for 21 days! There is no scientific evidence to prove that they do in fact prevent reattachment – and what of the risks? We know that they can cause oral aversion and exacerbate feeding issues. Babies are very orally sensitive. We need to respect when they are telling us “no”. Overriding this can potentially disrupt the parental bond. As a craniosacral therapist, working with the nervous system, I have a unique perspective as I am able to assess the impact of persistent stretches on babies systems. Babies respond to difficult experiences with a fight or flight response. But because they are physically unable to run away or fight, they can easily shift into freeze – a dissociative state. This is a protective survival mechansim and, unless treated, can become a lifelong pattern. Undergoing a laser frenectomy can be a traumatic experience for both mother and baby. With care and sensitivity the body can integrate this trauma with minimal lasting impact. It is my opinion that constant stretches for weeks afterwards interferes with the integration of the trauma, instead driving it deeper into the body.
My other concern is that babies with feeding problems are able to undergo the procedure without a full feeding assessment by an IBCLC. Nipple pain and milk transfer issues may not be related to the oral anatomy. An IBCLC can help to rule out nipple infections and positioning and attachment issues potentially avoiding surgery. Also, 1-2 sessions of cranio/bodywork beforehand may address issues such as myofascial tightness / jaw issues / cranial nerve impingment that can impact breastfeeding. Then, if no improvement in feeding, laser frenectomy can be trialled, often as a last resort.
Non-surgical management strategies can be effective first-line therapies for management of functional limitations associated with ankyloglossia. Surgical management should be considered only after non-surgical management has failed to address the functional issue that led to the diagnosis.
Finally, the procedure is often done to prevent future issues. Parents have a lot of fear around future issues with speech or dental issues. These aren’t yet substantiated by evidence. Social media perpetuates this fear. In my humble opinion, the only reason to treat PTT and LT in babies is for feeding issues.
“Further research is needed regarding other reported adverse health outcomes, such as problems with speech, malocclusion, lingual gingival recession and obstructive sleep apnoea as evidence of a consistent causative relationship is lacking. No evidence exists to support buccal or labial frena causing problems with feeding or speech.”
That said …despite no evidence, I have seen lip ties interfere with attachment/seal at the breast. And I have seen lip ties contribute to decay at the top of the central incisors.
Laser frenectomy (compared to scissors frenotomy) needs much more consideration as it is a longer and more traumatic procedure. Here in Perth, parents have a few options, my preferred referral is to one that does not recommend stretches and where it is a requirement that every baby is thoroughly assessed by an IBCLC before the procedure. The good news is, if babies do need to undergo laser treatment for tongue tie or lip tie, just one session of cranio can help them to integrate the experience, bringing them out of fight or flight or a dissociative state. This has lasting positive impacts on feeding and the nervous system.