Baby asleep in mum's arms
Paediatric Osteopathy

Cranial Osteopathy and Sleep in Babies and Children

Osteopath Hannah Hilton
Written by Hannah Hilton

Cranial Osteopathy and sleep in babies and children – find out how it may be able to help your family.

Every parent knows the importance of sleep, especially with the constant questions from others asking are they sleeping through yet. Whilst the surprise deliveries you forgot you ordered 3 days later are great, the whole family would benefit from a more restful night.

But how much sleep is enough? It is not developmentally typical for a child to sleep 7-7 am every night, waking 2-3 times per night until age 2 is expected. Sleep regressions aside, babies typically should mostly wake due to hunger however, there are numerous factors contributing to sleep disturbances in infants.

If this sounds like you, read on to find out some causes of sleep disturbances in babies and two gentle solutions: cranial osteopathy and lactation support.

Why Babies Might Wake Up Frequently

Several factors can contribute to restless nights in babies. These include:

  • Discomfort: Abdominal pain from gas or reflux, or tension related to pregnancy or birth (such as forceps, ventouse or c-section), can lead to discomfort and frequent wakings.
  • Feeding Issues: An ineffective latch or overfeeding due to air intake (aerophagia) can disrupt sleep patterns.

Feeding and Latch

A good latch and efficient milk transfer are crucial for satiated and restful sleep. Here’s what a good latch looks like:

  • Baby’s mouth is wide open: Their mouth should be open wide enough to encompass a large portion of the breast, not just the nipple.
  • Chin and lips are flanged outward: The baby’s chin should be resting on your breast, and their lips should be flanged outward in a “C” shape.
  • Sucking is deep and rhythmic: You should see rhythmic sucks with pauses for swallowing. Just because your baby is on the breast, it doesn’t always mean they are actively transferring the milk.

Signs of ineffective latch and aerophagia to watch for include:

  • Frequent burping or spitting up
  • Clicking sounds during feeding
  • Excessive gas
  • Fussiness during or after feeding
  • Wanting food 45 minutes – 1 hour after feeding

If your baby’s latch doesn’t meet these criteria, or if they seem frustrated while feeding and exhibit signs of aerophagia, our lactation consultant Nikki Mather, can assess your feeding technique and offer personalised guidance. If you think your family would benefit, here’s how to book.

But where does osteopathy come in to help with sleep?

During a consultation, your specialist paediatric osteopath, Hannah Hilton, will discuss your pregnancy and birth experience. Every baby is unique, and understanding their journey can help identify potential causes of fussiness, including birth interventions that may have caused some tension in your baby’s body.

  • Tension from being in the womb could be caused by Mum’s anatomy such as a heart-shaped uterus, cyst, fibroid or scar tissue/adhesions. Maybe your bump felt quite tight or looked “small”, you had a large or long baby or, you were told the baby was breech, transverse or felt very low and engaged for a while.
  • Tension linked to birth with most of these babies having had some sort of birth intervention. This may include induction, a stop/start labour, baby being malpositioned and requiring turning either by hand or forceps, cord around the neck, shoulder/s getting stuck, ventouse, c-section or even a very quick delivery. 

Cranial osteopathy uses gentle movements and stretches to address potential physical restrictions and promote overall well-being. Just like adults, discomfort can make it hard for babies to sleep peacefully. Tension from birth or other factors can make lying flat uncomfortable, leading to frequent wakings.

Ready to Help Your Baby Sleep Better?

If you’re a parent struggling with a restless baby, there are a few natural and gentle solutions worth exploring. Osteopathy can be a powerful tool to address physical restrictions and promote overall well-being, leading to deeper and more restful sleep for your baby.

A consultation with our specialist paediatric Osteopath, Hannah Hilton is a great first step to discuss your baby’s specific needs and determine if cranial osteopathy is right for them

Alternatively, why not consider our International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Nikki Mather who will assess your baby’s feeding technique and offer personalised guidance, ensuring they’re getting enough milk efficiently, promoting more contented sleep.

Explore the benefits of cranial osteopathy or lactation support, or perhaps consider a combination of both approaches. With a little help, your baby can be on the path to peaceful slumber, and you can finally get that much-needed rest too. 

Book a consultation today, sweet dreams!

Are You Ready To Experience The Difference?

Take the first step towards improved health and well-being. Contact The Olive Clinic in Warrington today to schedule your appointment.

Your health and the health of your family are our top priorities, and we’re honoured to be your partners on this journey to wellness.