So what how does cranial work with children, what is it we actually do?
The cranial bones of the head are designed to be soft and mobile so that the circumference of the skull can be reduced for a safer and ‘easier’ pathway through the birth canal. During this process these bones can become twisted and compressed causing obstruction to their normal intended growth and development as well as impacting the passage of vital nerves and blood vessels to and from the head to the rest of the body, the gut for example, and above all this can be painful leading to upset and unnecessary crying. Other twists and compressions can happen in the whole of the body particularly the spine and pelvis either from the birth or else in a lot on instances from being cramped upside mummy during pregnancy.
It is important to also remember the emotional elements too. Remember that before the cord is cut (and in my opinion for a long while thereafter), the baby feels what you feel, so stress whilst pregnant and certainly during long and difficult labours can all add to a heightened level of adrenaline and urgency in children, this is also the case in caesarean section babies where the transition from lovely snug, warm, wet and dark environment to bright lights and noise can leave the child startled and distressed – how did you feel when you were last really stressed, did you sleep well, eat well, feel like smiling for the world?
So in both cases of physical or emotional traumas, cranial osteopathy looks to restore a balance in the tissues, to gentle support and correct any strain patterns and to inhibit the side of the nervous system that has got caught up in all the stresses mentioned above. Like a plant that naturally reaches for the light, the inherent health within your children is amazing, they want to be healthy and well, sometimes though they just need a little support and guidance to get there.
Cranial Osteopathy, whether treating new born babies or children (adults too) has a lot to offer the natural pursuit of health by treating traumas in a non-traumatic way.
BCOP (Baby & Children’s Osteopathy Practice) in Cheltenham provides help for many issues on a daily basis from colic & reflux, fractious and unsettled behaviours, feeding issues, sleep disturbances and achievement of developmental milestones in babies, to glue ear, speech difficulties, growing pains, again behavioural issues, tummy pains and more in older children.
Cranial osteopathy had its foundations set in 1902 and our understanding of how the physical traumas of pregnancy, birth and life’s knocks/illnesses, combined with the emotional upset of these events, helps us to help our patients reach and maintain their health.
Treatment is extremely light and non-invasive and time is spent to explain how ill health has arrived and how we can stop and prevent it happening again.
More information on the free baby sessions can be found here – http://www.thefamilyosteopath.co.uk/treatments/bcop/
I’m always happy to help answer any questions or queries so please feel free to contact me, Ben and I’ll help where I can either email@example.com or call/text 07894 707745.
I have been mulling over how to tackle the topic of Postnatal depression for weeks, what seemed a straight forward request has raised my awareness to the fact that we seem to know what post natal depression is, but do we really understand it?
I think its fair to say every mother feels low at some point post birth. A minor injury of a stubbed toe prompts woes of discomfort, so surrendering your body to pregnancy to then have a tiny human removed vaginally or surgically, is going to have an impact both physically and emotionally.
To begin I think its useful to give a formal definition for Postnatal depression: depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue.
So what are the baby blues? Do they differ? The Baby Blues tend to start day three post birth with the sudden change in hormones making you feel teary and overwhelmed, it tends to peak at week one with feelings of weariness, fatigue, anxiety and isolation, but then as the hormones settle by week three the high emotions begin to taper and should subside. Does this mean those first few weeks of Baby Blues do not require emotional attention? The baby blues look less blue and more grey to me, a limbo land; not being ok but not being classified as depressed.
In this picture by Anna Lewis, @sketchymuma gracefully summarises the first week and its hardship, does any parent really know what’s going on? You have a new house guest, who isn’t leaving anytime soon, and you are on a crash course of getting to know each other combined with a rush of hormones, depleted vitamin and mineral reserves and little sleep.
Research shows a lack of sleep can create clinical depression in the healthiest of people, during a study it was discovered that healthy adults when woken continually over a period of a month, without the demands of a baby or birth, were almost all diagnosed with clinical depression. Without pregnancy or a baby?! So who is responsible for the first few weeks being deemed ‘blue’ ? Somewhere around the 1940’s the experiences post birth were coined as baby blues. In his best-selling baby book Expectant Motherhood, 1940, Nicholson J. Eastman wrote:
“Most common among such reactions, perhaps, is what is colloquially called the ‘Baby Blues’.” Does this term now undermine the experience? Thankfully we’ve outgrown Eastman’s other advice on how to reduce baby blues, he helpfully advised women to limit themselves to 10 cigarette daily during pregnancy. Jeez!
If the term Baby Blues can no longer suffice maybe Dr Oscar Serrallach a family practitioner in Australia has the answer. Dr Serrallach using modern methods identifies the demands on the body describing the process as postnatal depletion, which can develop into more severe forms of depression. To briefly summarise his work, he recognises the scientific demands to grow a baby highlighting the nutritional demands and consequences. He takes into consideration the reprogramming of the mothers brain for parenthood which shrinks by 5% to pass the enormous amounts of fats required to the baby; 7 grams of fat from the placenta travels to the baby daily, Mums zinc, iron, Vitamin B12 Vitamin B9, Iodine, omega 3 fats, and selenium stores are all tapped into (low selenium is linked to depression). Dr Oscar describes further demands beyond pregnancy each impacting how they will emotionally take a toll on the mother.
Perhaps this scientific approach educates society to accept EVERY woman will feel quite literally depleted after her birth. Perhaps through a universal responsibility to meet every mother’s needs she is free to meet the needs of her baby. Mothers are also then on the radar should moods escalate and need further attention.
OK so what can you do to help yourself? Because of course the experience of birth is not just the sorry state of affairs I have sold it as in the 600ish words above. What can we do as an expectant parent to maximise the joy it also brings?
- Getting your support system in place is the first vital step! Know who you are going to utilise and make them aware
- Learn key tools prior to the birth
- Develop skills in how to protect your relationship
- Learn to identify the six states of a baby
- Explore the kind of parent you’ll be
Investing emotionally with a professional can help reduce symptoms of PND from 67 percent to 23 percent, explore beyond your traditional birthing classes to expand your emotional intelligence, which can be learnt unlike personality or IQ such an investment will not only prepare you for the realities but help you evolve as a conscious emotionally intelligent parent who exists in the moment making life more manageable and calmer.
Jerilee is the founder of My Baby Brain. She is a clinical psychotherapist and mother. She has a wonderful outlook on the uniqueness and delicacies of life. Her mindful approach and clarity seeps through in her work. You can find out more about Jerilee and My Baby Brain here or by checking out their facebook or instagram.
- Start Packing
Start thinking about packing a hospital bag around 32 weeks, aiming to have everything sorted by around 36 weeks, just in case baby puts in an early appearance. Pop the bag (or bags) in your bedroom where it can be easily accessed, then as you think of items, they can be added easily without a last minute rush forgetting things.
- Size matters!
Choose a good sized holdall to take into hospital and an extra bag for all of baby’s things (or alternatively, one big bag or suitcase for everything). Don’t forget to have a section for partner’s stuff (or ask them to prepare their own little bag of goodies, e.g. clean underwear and clean t-shirt (labour can get hot and sweaty for partners too), snacks and drinks, toothbrush, pair of flip flops, a magazine/book, phone charger.
- What to pack for mum
There’s no strict rules as to what you should or shouldn’t pack. Take whatever you think you will need and most importantly, items make you feel comfortable and at ease. Some ideas include: lip balm or Vaseline, flip flops and/or slippers, a pillow, dressing gown, old nighties/t-shirts, socks, hairbands, music (on phone or CD), isotonic drinks, a big towel, toiletries, hairbrush, comfy bras, big old pants x5, maternity pads (lots), flannel or sponge.
- What will baby need?
There’s no need to pack the kitchen sink and the changing station too! Some essentials to pack for baby include: baby grows (long sleeves x5), baby vests (short sleeve x5), cardigan, pack of nappies, a couple of hats, blanket, going home outfit, cotton wool balls or wipes.
Don’t forget to pack a couple of plastic bags for dirty washing.
- Lastly . . .
As your due date approaches, ensure you always have your hospital notes to hand, should you need to grab them quickly. Double check the parking facilities at your local hospital and even do a ‘practice run’ with partner. It’s always a good idea to have some change in your bag for parking/vending machines.
Now put your feet up and wait until baby is ready to meet you!
I had my first baby 10 years ago and the whole experience was so traumatising that I vowed that if I ever had another baby, I was going to be one of those ‘too-posh-to-push’ mums and have baby extracted via the sunroof. I went into the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where we lived at the time, at 4am. At 7am, I was put on a drip to speed up contractions. My contractions sped up too much so I had NO respite between them and I’m also told that I’m one of the small percentage of women that the epidural doesn’t work on – how marvellous! To speed up this birthing story, I told them baby was stuck, they disagreed, I refused to push, the registrar came in and said, “baby’s stuck get her into theatre,” I had a spinal block, baby was born at 9.30pm. I also sprained my coccyx which took nearly a year to heal. Ugh! What an experience. BUT Olivia was just perfect in every single way and of course, totally worth it!
I met my now husband, James, in 2009. We got married in May 2015 and I was pregnant by August. We were absolutely over the moon. This time, I decided that I was going to completely embrace being pregnant; I was going to look after myself, carry on working out and contrary to the first sentence of this post, I was going to plan to give birth naturally BUT I was going to do something about the fear I still held onto and decided to enrol hubby and me onto a hypnobirthing course.
The hypnobirthing course was fab and made it real for James too. I wasn’t overly convinced by the ‘no pain’ ethos but I was totally bought into all of the breathing techniques and the course was worth it just for those. It was also worth it because our tutor empowered us to ask the right questions with the medical staff looking after us. For example, during my first labour, I would have asked them why they needed to intervene and speed up my contractions when I had been getting on just fine? As a result of the course, I also decided on a homebirth… yes, away from all the medical intervention, surgeons and drugs! We moved to Cheltenham from Berkshire when I was 8 months pregnant and I immediately noticed how amazing the midwifery care was here compared to where I had moved from. My desire to have a homebirth and use hypnobirthing terminology, like saying “surge” instead of “contraction,” was fully supported. I felt excited about the impending arrival of our second baby girl!
We got the spare bedroom ready for the birth and 3 days after my due date, I started feeling tightening in tummy. I went to sleep that night and woke up to the same tightening. I had breakfast and decided to take a warm bubble bath. Whilst in the bath, the tightening felt stronger and I felt I had to breathe through it. I called Cheltenham birthing centre and had to stop talking when another ‘surge’ came – the lovely lady said, “If you couldn’t talk just then, you’re in labour my love.” I put on the music that I’d listened to during the hypnobirthing relaxation sessions and sat on a swiss ball, gently bouncing. The first midwife arrived at about 10am and asked me if I wanted her to check how things were progressing. I said yes and found out that I was already 6 to 7cm dilated. The surges started to come in stronger and I used my breathing techniques to breathe through them. I wouldn’t say they were pain free, far from it, but the breathing really did help. I buried my head in hubby’s neck which I found really comforting and hubby didn’t speak… also comforting. 😉 Two more midwives arrived and they were all fantastic – kind, patient, friendly, chatty – everything I could have wished for. I got to 10cm dilated with no pain relief but it was becoming unbearable so I asked for the gas and air. My water’s still hadn’t broken and I didn’t really feel the need to push but they told me to start pushing. I felt exhausted and just wanted to sleep. I felt like I had nothing left in me. I then heard the midwives saying that they were calling for an ambulance as the baby’s heart rate wasn’t recovering quickly enough between surges. I remember lying there thinking, “Wait a minute. If an ambulance comes, I’m going to have to get downstairs (there’s no way I could have walked), get into the ambulance, travel to Gloucester hospital – all the while with no pain relief – and our baby was going to be pulled out with forceps or worse, I was going to end up having a C-section.” Within seconds of hearing this, I put my chin to my chest, closed my eyes, breathed down and gave it everything I had. Before I knew it, I heard the midwives saying, “Cancel the ambulance, the baby’s coming!” And come she did at 1.19pm – my waters broke as she arrived! Gosh the relief was dizzying and I was ecstatic that baby girl and I had made it. We left the umbilical cord pulsing for nearly 30 minutes before James cut it and I delivered the placenta naturally too. The midwives stayed for nearly 2 hours after the birth and left me, James, baby Jasmine and the room I’d given birth in, all clean, fresh and ready to start our new adventure together. We relocated to our bedroom and ordered Chinese takeaway at 6pm. Hands down the most delicious meal I’ve ever eaten!
If you’re low risk, I can’t recommend a homebirth more. Not having to worry about when you can or can’t go into a hospital was brilliant and I genuinely felt excited about being at home, amongst our things. When friends come to stay, I love saying, “I gave birth to Jasmine in the room you’re staying in.” ☺
My first tip in bathing your newborn is DONT. Unless you have a worse than usual poonami situation going on then it’s not necessary in the first week. A good old ‘Top ’n’ Tail’ will do. Here’s why…
That icky, cheesey white coating that they are covered with is called ‘vernix’ if I could bottle it up and sell it as a moisturiser I could quit my job as Midwife now. It is a natural moisturiser and forms a barrier on the skin to protect against infection. So as tempting as it is don’t wash it off.
Newborns struggle to regulate their body temperature. Have you ever seen a baby with goose pimples when they are cold? When a baby is cold they use their (brown) fat stores to heat themselves. Some baby’s have less brown fat than others, especially if your baby was born early or was a low birthweight. Exposing a newborn to water will cause heat to evaporate off their body making them cold.
Due to the way babies are still in the fetal position in the early days, it makes it harder to dry a baby properly. This can cause infection in hard to reach places such as their armpits, and their umbilical cord.
After the first week or for those who have their new Shnuggle bath and just can’t wait to use it here are my top tips on bathing a newborn…
Definitely leave bathing for at least 24 hours to give the vernix the chance to be absorbed.
Fill the bath to its max level with cool boiled water. Check temp with your elbow, it shouldn’t feel too hot or too cold.
Preparation is key to success. Get everything ready, cotton wool, towels, clothes and nappy.
Hold off the products for the first few weeks. Yes they smell yummy but anything other than water upsets the pH balance on their skin.
Face first. We are a cotton wool companies dream as we say say one piece per wipe. So wipe the eye from inner eye to outer, then get another piece whether you are doing a different eye or the same. One wool for one wipe. Prevents against infection. Then dry baby’s face.
Put them in the bath for a short amount of time, a couple of minutes is plenty.
Make sure baby is dry paying particular attention to any crevices; under the neck, armpits, groin and the umbilical cord. Bacteria likes wet, dark places.
Get them dressed, swaddle in a towel then if needed, cradle them over the bath supporting their head and neck to wash their hair. This way they are not losing so much heat from both their head and body being exposed at the same time. Towel dry their head/hair, again to avoid losing heat.
Then give your baby a big shnuggle as they probably cried a lot!
Get your partner or hubby to take some snaps as you enjoy the precious first time bath and tag us with #bathtimeshnuggle for your chance to win a Shnuggle bath and more for your baby. For more details on the competition or to see that gallery then click here.
Survival Tips for Expectant/New Parents
- Fill your freezer
Any time in pregnancy you cook a lasagne, bolognese or coq au vin (if you’re a Nigella in the kitchen) then cook a bit extra for the freezer. You will appreciate it in those early days where cooking may not be on your baby’s agenda.
- Changing station in every room
I don’t mean purchase a whopping changing table for every room but if you could stash some nappy’s, wipes, a muslim and some breast pads maybe in a basket or small box for most lived in rooms (such as nursery, your bedroom and the lounge) it saves you leaving the baby unattended whilst ruuning upstairs. Or worse still carrying a baby with poo all up her back upstairs to locate your changing stash, meanwhile baby poo is being squelched into your favourite new top pyjamas.
- Practise your ‘Thanks I will take that on board” face
Everyone including your friends, family, postman and Joe Blogg’s Nan will want to give you advice on how you should feed, deliver and name your baby. Yes your mother and grandmother have done it before but that was 20, 40 or 60 years ago. Times have changed, fashions have changed and so have evidence and professional advice. Take what they say, smile, say thanks and then scream into a pillow when you get home.
- Same goes for a negative birth story.
Everyone is so quick to tell a pregnant lady their traumatic birth experience. Yet what they fail to mention is the absolute love and delight they feel when their baby is put into their arms. Not only that but they have gone on to have a couple of other children since so even though they may be trying to put you off, they would do it all again in a flash.
- Adopt the 5 S’s into your life with a newborn
The fourth trimester is a period of 12 weeks where your baby is getting used to life on the outside world. The way to make this easier is to mimic life in the womb, especially when your baby is unsettled.
Swaddle, Sway (or Sling), Suck, Ssssshh, Skin to Skin. These top tips deserve a post on their own so more on this next week.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors
Your baby needs you in those early days and needs you well and rested. Don’t be afraid to tell well wishing friends and relatives that you are not having visitors today/this week. It gives you time to establish feeding, for you and your partner to bond with your baby and for your new family to find your feet and adapt to life with your new baby.
I have now experienced 3 incredible births – all completely different but all overwhelmingly joyous. Without a doubt the 3 best days of my life. I was thinking about which birth to talk about for the Great British Birth off, and decided that as it was world mental health day 2016 this week, I would discuss my 3rd pregnancy and birth. My 3rd pregnancy began as usual, Dan and I had a suspicion and as I was a bridesmaid at my cousins wedding (where there was an open bar) we thought we should check and there they were, two faint pink lines, the very start of Wilfred’s life. We were over the moon as always planned for 3.
Being mothers to 6 children between us, here at The Bump to Baby Chapter we are not ones to shy away from an excellent baby product when we see one. We have teamed up with the genius creators of the Shnuggle bath for this competition. We have also hand picked our selection of our favourite bath time products from what we think are the best on the market.
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this dreamy bath time selection is to take a snap of your baby’s bath time. It could be a precious first time bath moment, your baby splashing about in their very own Shnuggle bath or just your baby wrapped up in their favourite bath robe.
Mums-to-be don’t let these babies have all the fun. You can snap your own bubbly bath to be in with a chance to win these bath time goodies for your baby.
All photos will be put up in a gallery below.
Or send in your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Get your Shnuggle on and get Shnapping!
The competition will run until the end of October 2016. The winner will be contacted by 5th Novemeber 2016. By entering the competition you agree to us The Bump to Baby Chapter, Shnuggle and the other companies involved in the prize to use the pictures for social media or on their website.