Craniosacral for Mothers & BabiesGentle trauma release
The journey of pregnancy and childbirth is a remarkable, transformative experience. However, it can also bring physical and emotional challenges for both mothers and babies. Craniosacral Therapy (CST) offers a gentle and holistic approach to support the well-being of both mothers and their infants during this special time.
Babies undergo a remarkable process of adjustment as they transition into the world. They are learning to feed, digest, sleep, communicate & settle into a new rhythm with their parents. Their biggest life experience is birth, and although they are well equipped, sometimes the process can leave tension & strain patterns that affect their bodies. Craniosacral Therapy gently coaxes babies to release tension patterns in their bodies & restore optimal function to their digestive & nervous systems.
Babies benefit from Craniosacral Therapy (CST) due to its gentle and non-invasive approach. Some of the benefits are below:
- Release of Birth-Related Tension / Trauma: Tension patterns from birth can result in babies heads favouring one side (Torticollis), flat or asymmetrical head shape (Plagiocephaly) or favouring a particular body position. Interventions such as Ventouse or Forceps, while necessary, can leave strain patterns in the neck & head. CST can help release any tension or compression experienced during birth, promoting comfort and optimal function.
- Calming Effects on the Nervous System: The gentle touch involved in CST encourages a parasympathetic response in the nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. This can be particularly beneficial for babies (and mothers) who have experienced a stressful birth of any kind, including long labours, epidurals, c-sections, emergency procedures & any other labour complications.
- Improved Sleep Patterns: Many parents find that CST sessions contribute to improved sleep for their infants. By addressing any stress response, CST may help regulate the baby’s nervous system, leading to more restful sleep.
- Colic and Digestive Support: Babies commonly experience digestive issues such as gas, colic, reflux, fussy feeding & sub-optimal weight gain, causing distress for both the infant and parents. CST can aid in relieving tension in the abdominal area, potentially easing digestive issues and reducing colic symptoms. (This is often linked to the fight or flight response).
- Improved Breastfeeding: CST can support breastfeeding by addressing any challenges related to latch, sucking, or overall discomfort. By releasing tension in the jaw, neck, and cranial bones, babies may find breastfeeding a more comfortable and successful experience.
We often put all the focus on babies, but mums have been through a lot too – often still recovering from labour while being the primary carer for their newborns. It’s often a time when demands are high, but resources are low, so its really important to support mums as much as possible. What we notice in CST is when mothers are resourced, it has a really positive impact on babies and helps them settle & release tension more quickly. So you are supporting your baby by having treatments yourself.
Some of the benefits of CST for mothers are below:
- Calming effects on Nervous System: If labour has been difficult or stressful, the stress or “fight or flight” response can hinder our ability to switch off into rest and recovery mode (the parasympathetic response). This often results in a “wired & tired” feeling. CST is very effective at releasing the stress response & restoring calm again, aiding recovery for mums.
- Release of labour-related tension: Labour creates all sorts of tension patterns in the pelvis, sacrum and lower back that patients often discover later on in life. Releasing these earlier on not only helps patients feel better in the short term, it avoids longer term issues such as lower back pain, leg or tailbone pain, nerve issues and headaches.
- Release of Trauma: many patients find labour physically and emotionally traumatic. Trauma can result in feelngs of pain & tension, headaches, fogginess, lack of focus, dissociation, numbness in the body, fatigue, overwhelm, being overly emotional or depressed. CST is a gentle way of helping the body back into a resourced state so we can find a sense of harmony and wellbeing again.
- Enhanced Sleep Quality: Improved relaxation from CST sessions may positively impact sleep patterns, allowing mothers to enjoy more restful nights.
Mother & Baby Sessions
When treating babies, I always prefer to treat mothers first in their own session, or mothers & babies in the same session. This is for the following reasons:
1. Mothers can experience Craniosacral Therapy for themselves and understand what their babies experience when they are being treated.
2. When mums release tension and settle into a calmer state, it supports babies to do the same. Babies are constantly taking cues from mums and adjusting their physiology in response. When mums physiology is calm and resourced, babies are able to move into this state much more quickly during treatment.
What to expect in a session
Mother & Baby sessions are reasonably fluid as babies tend to guide how the session runs. Newborns are often in a capsule when coming in & if they are still comfortable & settled we can treat mothers first. We can also treat mothers on the table while holding their little ones if they are more comfortable there. If your baby is often particularly unsettled, it may be helpful to bring a family member to take care of them while mums are being treated. When its babies turn we can treat in mum’s arms, while breastfeeding, while sleeping in a capsule, or lying on the table.
During treatment babies usually settle as its comforting & relaxing for them, but sometimes will have a cry too, particularly when trauma or tension is being released. This is the primary way babies can express what has happened to them, though its usually short lived & is quite different from the usual cries when tired or hungry.
Its also important to know that sometimes its just not the right day for babies & thats ok too. Sometimes its enough to treat mums & check in again in another session. Usually this is when they are overtired & don’t quite have the resources for a session.
The number of sessions needed varies but I usually recommend 6 sessions over 6 weeks. This enables enough time for change to occur.
“Trauma produces actual physiological changes, including a recalibration of the brain’s alarm system, an increase in stress hormone.”
– Bessel A. van der Kolk, Author of The Body Keeps the Score
Read what our clients have to say
I came to James for treatment for my baby and I. Following a very challenging birth, my son was suffering digestive issues. It was a huge appeal that James treated mother and baby at once, as we are one and particularly for my son, he feeds off my energy and it was great for us to be in sync. For me, every session was immensely relaxing and grounding. Over the 5 or so weeks we came, my sons digestive issues improved and his tummy became relaxed. James is a very warm and caring person. I would definitely recommend him for Craniosacral therapy.
When we came to visit James, baby was suffering from gas, constipation and unbearable colic. She was crying most nights and I felt quite tense and out of sorts from lack of sleep & her premature birth. We loved our Mum & baby sessions as our weekly self care outing. It was incredible to see the calming effect and pain relief she experienced and how it really reset both of our nervous systems.