If your baby appears to have:
If your baby is developing:
flat head syndrome(Bradycephaly or Plagiocephaly).
What you will need:
Mum or dad can have a relaxing hot bath first (with no bubbles or soap).
Wait until the water gets to 38℃ then have baby passed to you in the bath.
Supporting baby's neck & shoulders
float them so the neck, back & shoulders are submerged; keeping their face dry.
Hydrotherapy should be ended:
Retrieve the baby from the bath (ensuring sufficient head and neck support) into the pre-warmed towel.
This procedure of hydrotherapy can be used daily assuming the baby's skin is not too dry.
If there are signs of dryness reduce the number of baths per week.
This hydrotherapy is designed to help relax the muscles of the neck shoulders and upper back of babies who have signs of: A stiff, sore neck (torticollis), a preferred head turn or neck movement restriction or head flattening (plagiocephaly or Bradycephaly).
If your baby is showing signs of head flattening (flat head syndrome, plagiocephaly or bradychephally ) or neck movement problems (torticollis), I would also recommend purchasing a Lovenest pillow., consulting a paediatric osteopath or physiotherapist & reading Advice for parents of babies with a stiff neck (torticollis), or flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly or bradycehpaly)
Description to stretch muscles in left side of baby's neck.
(This stretch is ideal if you're breastfeeding as you can do the stretch after they've fallen asleep at the breast & come off the nipple after a feed).
Otherwise, sit down holding your sleeping or relaxed baby in a cradle hold, with their head on your left side. Baby should be tummy to tummy with you.
***Optional: Roll your own shoulders back & down to ease your own shoulder tension.***
Adjust the cradle hold so your right arm is supporting along their upper back.
Then lowering your left arm & hand towards your lap, slide your left arm along your baby's back, past their shoulder until your left hand has got your baby's right ear flat in the palm of your left hand.
Gently and slowly lower your left arm & hand towards the ground (with a slight arc of movement of the hand to mirror the arc of movement of the baby's neck side bending).
Allow the baby's head to rest in a side-bend stretch for the time it takes you to do 4-5 slow deep breaths in then out, (roughly 30-45 seconds).
After completing the stretch, slowly bring the baby's head back to the midline.
***Optional: Gently do your own neck stretch forwards (chin to chest) or side-bending (ear to shoulder) to ease your own neck & shoulder tension***
Congratulations, you have successfully helped eased some of your baby's neck & shoulder tension (***& some of your own too***)!
Note: NEVER PUSH UP the other way to stretch the other side of the baby's neck.
Swap the cradle hold side to stretch other side of the baby's neck.
Aim to do the neck stretch once on each side daily.
Or up to 3 times each side, at separate times of the day.
Pumping breast milk is a good option to maintain & boost your breast milk supply if your baby is struggling to latch & feed.
This difficulty could be because further support from a breast feeding support worker or lactation consultant is needed to perfect latching technique.
Breast feeding pillows can help support a comfortable position.
Sometimes assessment of a suspected tongue tie by a tongue tie practitioner is warranted (especially if the tongue appears heart shaped at the tip when the tongue protrudes or if overlapping signs & symptoms of baby reflux are present).
There can be other causes too, so do not hesitate to contact your primary healthcare practitioner (e.g. health visitor, GP or a paediatric cranial osteopath) or visit www.laleche.org.uk for breast feeding advice.
Time is of the essence to maintain a breastfeeding relationship & support the supply & demand aspect of breast milk production.
If you know you are being induced before full term (40 weeks) or are having an elective Caesarean Section you could speak with your midwife &/or obstetrician about beginning to harvest your colostrum & begin getting your mammary glands prepped for milk production. I hear so frequently from mothers who's 'milk was delayed coming in' because of an early delivery or a C-section.
If your baby is having feeding problems, prefers to feed from one breast, preferentially turns their head to one side or sleeps with their head turned to one side regularly.
Or appears to have an excessively 'strong neck' or exceptionally good 'head control' for their age they could have torticollis.
Torticollis is one factor that can contribute to developing flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly or bradycephaly).
Often I see babies referred to a paediatric cranial osteopath by a tongue tie practitioner or health visitor with tense neck & jaw muscles linked with torticollis & flat head syndrome that have also struggled to latch & feed.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for advice or see more of my free baby advice above.
Advise, exercises or recommendations are those given to existing patients attending osteopathic appointments with Tamille Phillips Paediatric & Cranial Osteopath, after a thorough case history & physical examination assessment has been carried out.
FREE Osteopathic telephone consultations are available with Tamille on request.