Its quite common for babies to fall asleep during a cranio session. Occasionally an exhausted adult will also drop into sleep. Recently, I had a couple of kids fall asleep during the treatment – which is pretty special.
Cranio helps the body to shift out of a “fight or flight” state into “rest and repair”, sometimes this looks like sleep. Both my boys ask for cranio when they have difficulty getting to sleep and I have occasionally helped my friend’s kids get to sleep at night, while I am at their place. Once, my skeptical partner (who still doesn’t understand cranio) allowed me to do cranio while he lay on the beach as he drifted off into a blissful sleep (he put it down to the gentle lapping of the waves, not the touch!).
It really is a privilege to support any body to shift out of a busy state; to find a sense of stillness and calm (that continues beyond the confines of the treatment room).
Perhaps you need this at the end of a difficult year? Would you like to find a calm centre during the silly season?
Contact me to make an appt – your body will thank you!
Cranio is a holistic, gentle treatment that supports the nervous system to down-regulate, which triggers the body’s own self-healing mechanism. Because it is so gentle, it is perfect to use with babies. Plus babies systems are so potent and ready to shift easily back to balance – some just need a little cranio support.
Because cranio is not well known, parents may not know the kinds of things that cranio is good at addressing. Here are the top six issues I see in my cranio/lactation practice:
1. Your baby had significant bruising around their head after birth
Some babies complete their birth journey looking pretty beat up!
Check out the squashed nose and facial asymmetry on this little bub, I had the pleasure to treat. He was not able to latch onto the breast without a shield and had issues transferring milk (before cranio).
And that bruise on his head -ouch!
If after birth, your baby had significant bruising, forceps marks, chignon from vacuum extraction, a cephalohematoma or other abnormal head shape, it is a sign that baby has undergone some difficulty during birth and would benefit from cranio. Hospital staff are used to these kinds of injuries and often dismiss it, knowing that superficially these marks do disappear over the following weeks to months. But there can still be underlying physical and emotional tensions that are not yet integrated. These stress imprints remain in the tissues in obvious and less obvious ways. Babies may be very sensitive to touch on their head and may react strongly to clothes being pulled over their head. Other infant interventions like suctioning or fetal scalp monitors may also impact the tissues, in less obvious ways but may still be held in the system.
Cranio can find these holding patterns in the body and facilitate their system to gently release, leaving a sense of peace in the baby’s system.
2. Labour was prolonged or very fast
Babies have their own experience of birth, often linked to their mothers, but with their own unique pressures and stresses. If they have felt stuck for any reason or under a lot of pressure for a long amount of time this can influence their bodies, in particular the nervous system and the neck. They may have felt scared or panicked. If a prolonged labour ended up in emergency c-section then the baby may also feel disoriented, this can show as arching at the breast or pushing with the feet, the baby can feel stuck in the birth sequence of pushing from the uterine walls.
On the flip side, a fast birth may be a shock to the baby and can show up as activation in their nervous system.
Cranio acknowledges the birth experience and allows these physical and emotional tensions to release leading to happier well-adjusted babies.
3. You have been told your baby has a tongue tie
There is much controversy around tongue tie recently. Research is lacking around posterior tongue ties and lip ties, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It helps to have bodywork before undergoing a tongue tie release. Cranio is a form of bodywork that can address other issues that may mimic the symptoms of tongue tie such as, cranial nerve dysfunction, tight fascia or general nervous system activation. If a couple of cranio treatments improves breastfeeding then the tongue tie procedure may be avoided; if it doesn’t, then the parent can feel confident that the procedure is necessary. It is also recommended to schedule a cranio treatment within 48 hrs of the tongue tie release, to optimise function and to reset the nervous system.
4. Your newborn has difficulty latching to the breast
Newborn babies have natural instincts to latch themselves to the breast after birth, if they can’t then there is usually a good reason for it. Often the mum feels like she is doing something wrong, but it is actually because the baby is in pain, tense, stressed or medicated from birth. Perhaps there is a tongue tie or tight jaw muscles? Cranial nerve function can be impeded due to compression of cranial bones which can affect tongue function and sensation. The earlier cranio treatment is given the better in these circumstances.
5. Your baby cries a lot
Babies cry to communicate and once that need is met usually stop crying. If your baby cries inconsolably or with a high pitch then they may need some cranio support. Some babies have musculoskeletal pain or discomfort from birth. Others have a strong need to tell their birth story through memory crying. I have successfully treated babies who have cried excessively since birth. Cranio provides deep listening as well as addressing any physical tensions and may help get to the root cause of their suffering.
6. Baby has a head preference/torticollis or breastfeeding is painful on one side
This gorgeous little guy needed a few cranio sessions for torticollis that was affecting latch at the breast and also causing him discomfort.
Babies with a stiff neck tend to have trouble with positioning and latch. Tight inutero environments and/or asynclitic positions during birth may impact the neck/shoulders and jaw and other parts of the body. This can cause breastfeeding difficulties which tend to be slow to resolve on their own. Cranio helps the body let go of these restrictions and then breastfeeding often becomes easier.
Birth is a formative experience. Its impact is imprinted in the tissues of the body and can influence the health and wellbeing of the person from infant to adulthood. Early cranio treatment can prevent future difficulties such as headaches, anxiety and more.
As the twig is bent, so grows the tree
Often an hour or so of skin to skin after birth helps the mum and baby to integrate the birth experience and let go of any held tensions; sometime this doesn’t happen, sometimes it does – but bub needs more support.
Cranio is a gentle, holistic treatment that has the potential to facilitate profound changes in the body, which can make all the difference to an infant’s sense of wellbeing. Babies often find it to be very relaxing and parents often notice they feel a lot calmer too after their baby receives treatment. Babies tend to respond quickly to cranio, often only needing between 1-3 treatments. These six issues can be easily addressed in one session:
1. Your labour was induced
Induction via a Syntocinon drip can feel intense to mothers, often we overlook the experience of the baby. Babies play an active role in birth; pushing off the uterine walls with their feet, twisting and turning to find their way out. Induction overrides this natural pacing and sequence. During a cranio treatment I may palpate tones of urgency and fear. These stress imprints often resolve within one cranio treatment where they otherwise may be held in the body and impact on feeding, sleep and baby behaviour. Feeling of self-empowerment are often restored after a cranio treatment.
2. Your baby is restless when sleeping or difficult to settle to sleep
This may be related to a difficult birth experience, sometimes these babies are in shock from the birth or stuck in “fight or flight” mode with their nervous system is dialled up. Cranio helps to calm the nervous system. This isn’t just within a treatment, but often continues afterwards. Babies then feel safe enough to drop into a deep sleep. *Other reasons may include food sensitivities and may not be as easily addressed with cranio.
3. Your newborn baby falls asleep at the breast within 5 minutes
Medication or anaesthesia from birth may still be influencing baby. Or the baby may be in parasympathetic shock after birth. This is the freeze aspect of the nervous system survival mode – “fight, flight or freeze”. Cranio can clear this dissociative state so that baby is more alert to feed.
4. Your baby has poor eye contact
We underestimate babies. They have a strong capacity for connection and can make deep eye contact if they feel safe and are not holding on to difficult experiences. Babies often have improved capacity for eye contact after cranio treatment.
5. Your baby was exposed to medication (during pregnancy, birth or anytime afterwards)
Perhaps you had to take medication (including antidepressants, pethidine) during pregnancy or labour. Sometimes this is unavoidable and in the best interests of both mum and baby. Or maybe your baby had to have antibiotics for a health concern.
A baby may need a little support to help clear the side effects from their system, usually one session is all that is needed.
6. Baby vomits or hiccups excessively
There may be tensions in the diaphragm that cranio can help to release.
Ideally babies would have treatment in the weeks and months following birth, but it is never too late to book in. Please share with anyone you know who is pregnant or has a baby.