The grumpy child,
Several times a week I get calls from distressed parents seeking help for an unsettled, screaming baby . Usually, the baby has been assessed by their general practitioner, paediatrician, health visitors, and no reason is found for the problem.
There is no agreement as to why a healthy child may be miserable and unsettled. What most have observed is that it may be related to feeding. The process of feeding either breast or formula, the contents of the feed if breastfeed, then certain foods eaten by the mother may upset the digestive system of the baby. The digestive system of some premature and full term babies are not mature enough to digest milk, leading to fermentation and gas. Another reason that may explain why a healthy baby cries or and gets upset after a feed, is lactose intolerance and lactose overload. Lactose intolerance occurs when the baby's gut does not produce the enzyme Lactase to breakdown the sugars in the milk.
Lactose overload is when the breastfeed baby takes too mostly the fore milk , that is low in fat, leaving the hind milk rich in fat. These babies usually feed fast and frequently. In lactose overload the gut is producing normal lactase.
Flatulence is believed to cause discomfort/pain in a baby. A small or premature baby may have a small mouth and has difficulty covering the breast aureola and ends up swallowing air.
The advice is to see that the child latches on well and that the lips cover the aureola.
In a premature or small baby or children with developmental problems, the suckling may be weak and therefore he gets tired after a short time. During the osteopathic examination I often find that the hypoglossal nerves that supply the muscles of the tongue are irritated and therefore latching on is difficult.
An osteopathic examination includes all the structures related to swallowing, suckling and breathing including motion of ribs, clavicles and diaphragm. The contents of the abdomen and position of the umbilicus.
Drainage of fluids from the head, neck, abdomen. Motion and position of every vertebrae.
Cranial restrictions or tension in individual bones or between the bones of the head, particularly where the skull joins the neck.
Open airways need to be open. For example when breastfeeding with a blocked nostril may be fuzzy and needs stop to breath though the mouth. The problem may be on the face, neck or chest.
Osteopathic treatment for children is carried out by applying gentle techniques over the areas related to the problem.
Then most common conditions to help children are.
1. Possetting or regurgitation
2. Grumpy and tense children
3. Difficult birth
4. Forceps or ventouse used during delivery
5. Teething discomfort
6. Odd head shapes
7. Delayed progress e.g . not crawling or walking at the expected age.
8. Respiratory problems linked to asthma, the chest and neck muscles may be tense.
10.Aches and pains associated with growing.
11. Sports injuries, like young ballet dancing, gymnastics, running etc.
Registered Osteopath Salome Olivia has been treating children since 1993. Registered with the General Osteopathic Council. Holds a Post grad in Paediatric Osteopathy from the Osteopathic Centre for Children and has conducted further studies in Asthma and Reflux in children and adults. Member of The International Cranial Association, The Institute of Osteopathy and the British Medical Acupuncture Society
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