If your baby is otherwise healthy but is having difficulty sleeping, is irritable and fidgety when feeding, your baby may be showing signs of retained moulding. What is retained moulding I hear you ask?
The bones of the baby’s skull (head) mould and change shape in response to the stresses of labour (i.e. as the baby passes through the birth canal). This moulding is usually released naturally afterwards. There are however occasions when the baby maybe unable to resolve these moulding effects (i.e. retained moulding). Below are some examples:
• Birth canal limitations: stress or shape distortions within the mother’s pelvis can restrict the ease of descent of the baby’s head resulting in compression of the infant’s skull.
• Rapid labour (< 6 hours): the baby’s head undergoes rapid rather than gentle moulding with large compressional forces. • Slow labour (>15 hours): exposes the baby’s head to large compressive forces for an extended period of time. The amount of compression in the head can be extreme.
• Forceps and ventouse: used when the baby is already in distress and the head under maximum compression. The extra compression exerted by the appliances on the baby’s head and face can be very difficult for the baby to release.
Retained moulding due to the above may cause the baby to be uncomfortable physically leading to unsettled behaviour. Essentially, the baby may have a headache or neck pain! In some cases, there may be no apparent effect but may predispose the child to other problems when growing up (e.g. regular headaches).
Using cranial osteopathy, we can help reduce the discomfort that babies experience through retained moulding by working gently on the spine, pelvis and skull bones.