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How to recognise tension in a newborn baby.

You wouldn’t expect a newborn baby to have muscular tension, would you?

But newborn babies can experience tension too and very often this can be because of labour or delivery. Musculoskeletal tension can also contribute to feeding difficulties when there is an associated cranial nerve dysfunction.

Let us explain. Three nerves travel through a small hole in the skull (the jugular foramen) at either side of the head. If a baby’s head is fixed in an asynclitic position, that is, where the head of the baby is presenting first and is tilted to the shoulder, then this results in the head no longer being in line with the birth canal. The can result in the compression of the 3 cranial nerves. These nerves are vital for the baby to feed effectively and when compromised, baby can have a poor suck-swallow-breathe mechanism. They can take in too much air as the feed, their latch can be poor and they can be quite unsettled.

So what can cause or contribute towards muscle tension in your baby?

*If you had a very fast delivery, or a very prolonged labour.
*If baby was in a slightly different position for delivery, for example, face to the stars.
*If you had twins and space was at a premium towards the end of pregnancy.
*If baby needed some assistance at delivery, a vacuum delivery for example.

These are all reasons why a baby may have muscular tension.
The good news is paediatric osteopathy can help release this muscular tension and return baby to the midline. This is where they are meant to be.



So, what does tension look like in a baby?


They can have a one-sided head preference, often as a result of a torticollis (tight neck muscles).
They can have a furrowed brow, or look cross.
Their fists can be clenched.
They can have a flat head. This too is often connected to a torticollis as baby tends to lie on the same part of their head.
They can be unsettled digestively.
They often don’t like to lie flat, preferring to be upright in your arms.
And the tend to not like their car seat.



If you would like to book an appointment to have your newborn baby assessed, call us on 021 4348918 or book online.

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