The Fractious and Unsettled Child
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.
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 examination I often find that the hypoglossal nerves that supply the muscles of the tongue are irritated and therefore latching on is difficult. During the osteopathic examination all the structures related to swallowing, suckling and breathing and any dysfunction are assessed and treated
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.
Another cause of flatulence is lactose overload when the baby has to gulp down the milk. Lactose overload is not the same as lactose intolerance. Lactose overload is when the milk flow is fast. You can observe it if you stop the baby feeding and the breast milk flows like an open tap well not quite but you get the meaning. The lactose intolerance is when the enzyme to breakdown milk is absent or deficient.
For fast flow milk, midwives advice to manually express about 30ml before feeding. The baby will be fine, because the letdown of fatty milk is still in the breast.
Most children respond well to osteopathic treatment. Treatment techniques are different to those applied to adults, and are based upon the timeless wisdom of the old masters.
The paediatric osteopath is trained to develop fine palpatory skills, to help in assessing and diagnosing the areas related to the presenting problem, and accordingly treat to improve function so that the child can achieve his/her maximum potential.
Osteopathic treatment for children is carried out by applying gentle pressure 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. Unsettled restless babies, with no established sleeping patterns.
6. Teething discomfort
7. Odd head shapes
8. Delayed progress e.g. not crawling or walking at the expected age.
9. 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 for over 21 years. 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.
68 Melfort Road
Telephone 0208 684 3888.
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