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  • Writer's pictureSamantha

What else can I try?

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

So you've got white noise, a comforter, blackout blind, following age appropriate awake windows and your little one is still not settling for sleep?

I've been there.

It is rough!

Have you taken your little one to your GP or Paediatrician only to be told, they are fine, there is nothing physically wrong with them?

Have you considered other Allied Health options?

I spoke with Lauren Toy, Practise Principal and owner of Brimbank Osteopathy to discuss how osteopathy can help your little one not only in their sleep but their general wellbeing.

Labour and birth can be traumatic for babies, regardless of their delivery method (vaginal or cesarian). For babies that have instrumental births (forceps or vacuum) this is even more so. Throughout pregnancy, labour and birth babies are some what squashed into various positions, creating trauma through their head or neck. Although their bones are soft this can still impact their body. Particularly if your little one does not like to be in the pram or their carseat for long periods, it could be worth consulting an osteopath to ensure they are not in discomfort through their head, neck or back.

Osteopaths can also assist with digestive issues for your little one from colic and wind to constipation, particularly once you start solids. Head preference (always favouring one side when lying down), falls or lack of mobility/difficulty in movement, not associated with medically diagnosed issues are also conditions in which an osteopath can assist.

Paediatric osteopathic treatments are gentle and work with the movement of the body and does not involve heavy massage, stretching, manipulation as adult osteopathic treatments do. Treatments are of course adapted to suit each individual patients needs.

Osteopathic treatments are a holistic approach to treat and alleviate potential issues that may arise down the track. Osteopaths can treat discomfort you may be feeling throughout your body. For example you may be experiencing discomfort in your neck, which could be impacting your ability and quality of sleep. As Osteopaths assess your whole body and work to correct and/or minimise any dysfunctions, many patients report being able to sleep better afterwards, as they are no longer in discomfort.

Sleep can also be the causes of many dysfunctions within the body as a result of poor sleeping positions, incorrect mattress or pillow. As adults it is not common practise to test out the mattress in our little ones bassinet or cot and often as our little ones become more mobile, their sleeping positions can become questionable (see Fynn below).

When calling an Osteopathy Clinic to make an appointment for your little one, be sure to ask if any of the practitioners treat children your age. There is not an age range that osteopaths treat, however there are osteopaths that can completed further studies to specialise in paediatrics. They specialise in different movements and treatment options for little ones.

From personal experience, I took Fynn to an osteopath is a long list of concerns, his sleep being only one. Fynn has had a blocked tear duct since he was two weeks old, he was often quite congested, he had colic from 6-13 weeks of age, mild constipation since beginning solids and he HATED the car! The paediatric osteopath that I took Fynn too helped with so many things! Just from touching his back and pelvis she could tell that he favoured one side, was quite tight (which was impacted his ability to roll over) and constipated. She also asked about Fynn's labour and birth and positioning in utero. She determined that one side of his head was a little flatter than the other, even though he did not have an instrumental birth, and his ear on that side looks like it is squashed. She said it could be from him having his hand rested against his head in utero and possibly during labour. To treat Fynn's congestion and blocked tear duct she actually put her finger inside this mouth and pressed on the roof of his mouth. Now I know it is much more technical than that, but from an outsider it looked like magic. Fynn was also treated for a tight shoulder and lower back, which could have been why he was so uncomfortable in the car. Fynn had a total of 4 treatments over the course of 1-2 months. In this time his constipation completely resolved, he began rolling confidently both ways and was much more settled in the car. Fynn was no longer congested and his eye had opened up more (it was slightly more closed than the other due to the blocked tear duct).

At this point, Fynn wasn't able to self-settle to sleep, however he was able to settle much quicker than before as he wasn't in as much discomfort.

If you would like to know more about how or if an osteopath can help you or your family, give a clinic a call and have a chat. If they are unable to help you, ask them if they can recommend another clinic that could.

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