When anyone said, “No two babies are the same,” I never believed it. So when my dear little girl Florence, my second born, flew in to the world in a swift manner (read my birth story here if you want the full deets) I had NO idea the level of shock that I was about to be presented with.
I *thought* Henry’s reflux was bad. But his is not comparable to what I was faced with my latest addition, Florence. Her first few days were purely spent with her bringing up (what felt like) gallons of mucus – common with babies born very quickly as they have little time to expel any substances as they enter the world! It became apparent that Florence had reflux that I had never previously witnessed, combined with the most awful case of “milk spots” I have ever seen. Red, painful and circa 300 acne-type pimples graced her beautiful little face and yet without complaint. *Cue the post-baby tears, anxiety and more from this mama!*
During this time I learned that she didn’t like to be put down. For the first 6-8 weeks of her life she was unsettled and distressed whenever she wasn’t in my arms. And her continuous regurgitating of my breast milk was heart breaking. Wasted, painful and time consuming. (And no, this was not a dairy matter.)
By week 5 I was at my wits end with her reflux. Her milk spots had almost passed, she was starting to be more at ease with the world and a little more chilled. The bond began to really blossom. I ADORE HER WITH ALL MY EVERYTHING.
However, her weight was proving to become a concern and now with regular weekly visits from the health visitor I had to react and was willing to try anything to soothe her reflux pains and to try and stop the vomiting. A few had mentioned trying CranioSacral therapy. A little “woo” and holistic for some, and even I was open minded about it. But as I say, I was willing to try anything. Natasha of CST FOR ME was recommended to me by a few so I booked in with Natasha was not disappointed.
Her colourful oasis tucked away in Leigh-on-Sea instantly offers a welcoming, inclusive and relaxed space. When I first arrived, I was clearly a sleep deprived and anxious new mother (albeit second time round) and I instantly connected with Natasha.
Natasha was gentle with her touch and overall care to my baby girl, who desperately tried to be happy as often as possible. During our first session, Natasha was able to feel and sense that Florence was experiencing stress and tightening within her chest area and an overall imbalance within her nervous system, just from holding her. One theory Natasha enlightened me with, was that Florence’s quick arrival could have had a follow on effect, resulting in her feeling a little traumatised, not allowing her body to full adjust during birth and the constant need to be close to me for a sense of security and reassurance. This made complete sense! Like a penny had been dropped!
Working with children and babies, in any profession should always receive the praise and recognition it deserves. Babies can’t communicate what’s wrong and to learn that hidden gems such as Natasha exist and that CranioSacral therapy itself is out there and available to help us and our children with a variety of conditions. It’s an opportunity for us all to try (even adults can benefit from CST) without always resorting to medicine, or perhaps to complement and work alongside any medicine. Reflux, in Florence’s case, was causing her great discomfort, distress and not allowing her to maintain a healthy weight gain even once formula milk was introduced. After just three sessions (fortnightly) her reflux substantially subsided and we continue to have an occasional appointment for ‘maintenance’ – i.e. during ‘leaps’ and bouts of unsettled behaviour.
After our first session Florence slept for 20 out of 24 hours. At first I was a little alarmed, but it was like a huge weight has been lifted from her little, vulnerable, exhausted body and within a day she smiled for the very first time.
I may be biased, but she is now the happiest baby I have ever come across. Florence is a real smiler, she sleeps through the night, eats well and allows me to put her down. Don’t get me wrong, we still get the odd day of chaos but the sessions we had, I feel, were a huge help.
I can’t recommend CST with Natasha enough, for helping with reflux and unsettled babies. It saved my sanity and anxiety in the process. She also treats older children as well as adults too – for a number of conditions.
Natasha has very kindly provided a guest blog post about her journey with CST and treatments for little ones (see below). I hope this is helpful for you or other parents who might have a little one suffering with reflux. Those early weeks of new parenthood are incredibly tough, emotional, mentally draining and physically exhausting. I will always turn to CST from now on.
How did you discover and get in to CranioSacral Therapy?
“I suffered with anxiety since childhood and I’ve also had extremely painful menstrual cycles since I was a teen. When I hit my 30s these two things seemed to collide and I was missing about two weeks of life out of every month due to pain or anxiety. When I tried medication it only made me feel worse. I was in desperate need for an alternative method of help. That’s when I found CranioSacral therapy and it genuinely changed my life forever. Within a course of six treatments my menstrual pain had been halved and as well as my anxiety. Today, I rarely suffer with either!
Because of this great transformation, I quickly ended my career in marketing and I went back to school full time until I graduated as a CranioSacral therapist. Schooling consisted of attending a graduate courses in Anatomy, Pathology, and Physiology along with a full time course at the College of CranioSacral Therapy in London. It was the one greatest moves I’ve ever made!”
“And CST for babies?”
“It was whilst in school that I realised the importance of CST for babies. There I witnessed that your own birth can play a huge part in determining the path of your whole life. A traumatic birth can limit development, also leaving imprints of shock and trauma that can stay with the baby for the rest of their lives, unfortunately affecting their mental and physical health forever. An easier calmer birth may result in a happy healthy baby who grows up to be a self-assured positive adult. With CST you can gently assist these stresses to release so that the baby has the best chance at a happy healthy life. That’s why I find CST so important for babies and have made it a personal mission to share the good word on how this can change their lives forever. Most babies require around 3 treatments, but as with Florence, it is not uncommon to see massive changes after the first treatment.”
Florence slept for a whole day after her first treatment, as though she was released of intense pressure she was enduring, how does the magic of CST work for reflux babies?
“Florence felt so much relief because her body was still holding on to the stress and shock of her own birth process. This was causing her to struggle with reflux, as it does in so many babies. Her first treatment was so effective because it treated the shock and trauma from the physical effects of birth- relieving her tension and allowing her body to release, relax, and recover.”
CST isn’t just for reflux, what other common symptoms and conditions it help in babies and children?
-and much more
And what about parents?
“CST is also amazing for parents, it reorganises and reintegrates their whole physical and emotional body. As well as removing old tensions and stresses. Because adults and older children have more layers of physical and mental stresses. They do normally require 4 to 6 treatments. But it is very common to see results after the first one. Resulting in physical, mental and emotional health. I see many adults for stress, insomnia, migraines, back pain, trauma relief, and much more.”
How is CST different from other body work?
“CST is different from other body work in that it originated in Osteopathy, being studied by doctors and health professionals for ages and only becoming its own separate treatment in the past 50 years. Because of light touch, subtle movements, and advanced anatomical knowledge it is the amazing health modality that I now practice today.
Not only is it incredibly relaxing, it can be life changing. Most often clients leave feeling calmer and more relaxed than they’ve felt in years. On top of that, very often old aches and pains leave, self-confidence is restored, and they notice greater brain function and activity. It’s really a win win for anyone!”