It is normal to see newborn babies sleeping more than they are awake. As a matter of fact, an infant of 0 to 12 months needs to doze off to a total of 16 to 20 hours each day; they would just wake up when they need to feed (and play around showing you that adorable smile).
With this information, you know that there is something wrong if you notice your baby cannot stay long asleep. If your newborn is having trouble falling into slumber and instead cries it off to call your attention, then it is wise and safe to assume that there are some stresses going on and are causing irritation to your child. Sadly, there is no way for him to communicate with you than to cry, and do it as loudly as he/she can until someone (and that is most probably you as the parent) is able to provide him/her relief.
In most cases, sleep issues among infants are compounded by feeding difficulties as well. You would probably seek the advice of your family doctor or paediatrician, which is the most logical thing to do when you (as a parent) have ran out of effective options at home. The paediatrician, of course, will do the normal assessments – check the temperature, measure the weight and height, listen to the heartbeat and breathing via stethoscope, and ask questions concerning your observations with your child’s discomfort.
If the paediatrician does not see a pathological cause to your baby’s sleeping trouble, then he or she may refer you to an osteopath, particularly the one with a speciality on cranial osteopathy.
The ‘Gentle Manipulation’ of Skull and Spine
Cranial osteopathy, otherwise called as craniosacral therapy or cranial therapy, is just one of the many effective techniques of osteopathy. While osteopathy deals with the principle that the body works at its best and can move freely when it does not have any obstacle in the musculoskeletal system, cranial osteopathy has a focus on the IVM or Involuntary Motion. IVM is the subtle yet collective rhythm that cycles inside the body. Osteopathy employs the use of manual manipulations to achieve its aim; with cranial osteopathy, the concentration of such manual (but gentle) manipulations is the skull and sacrum, which is the huge trilateral bone at the base of the spine.
Most newborns are struggling with discomfort due to the tensions and slight damages wrought by childbirth (and note that it is not just the mums). What compounds the condition is that some birth deliveries involve external interventions – such as the use of forceps and ventouse, which may cause a flattening of the head as an after-effect. Yet with or without the invasive methods, the baby undergoes excruciating pressures on the skull and neck bones. You may observe that your child is having difficulty turning his/her head to the right or left, whenever you would feed him/her or tuck him/her to bed.
This is what cranial osteopathy for babies seeks to correct. It intends to relieve the aches and soreness the child is enduring, which cause him/her to suffer troublesome sleep and feeding patterns. Abnormal sleep and low milk intake can eventually affect their body mass growth and immunity from infections. Using gentle movements and guided by the IVM, the osteopath will re-position the bones on the skull and spine. The IVM is detected by the osteopath, which in turn allows him/her to find the misalignments and apply the necessary corrections.
So are you still complaining why your baby wants you to join him/her in his/her ordeal of sleepless nights? Maybe it is worth visiting a cranial osteopath sooner than later.
“How Much Sleep Do Babies Need?” What To Expect. Retrieved from www.whattoexpect.com
Weil, A. “Cranial Osteopathy.” Weil TM Andrew Weil MD. Retrieved from www.drweil.com
Wakeling, B. (Updated 23 February 2016) “Cranial Osteopathy: Can It Help Your Child Sleep?” The Huffington Post. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.co.uk
Karuna, F. “Cranial Osteopathy – How Does It Work?” OHbaby! Inspiring Modern Families. Retrieved from www.ohbaby.co.nz
Image from CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=639618