Teresa A. Wanczyk, M.S., D.O., N.M.M.,O.M.M.

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05/24/2006 - A MECHANICAL APPROACH TO FEEDING DIFFICULTIES

The infant was three weeks old when he first came to my office for Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.  He was unable to latch onto the breast and when he fed, he would often arch his back and be thown off the breast. Others I  have cared for would turn from side to side. Often this means, I would explain to the new mother, that this baby is struggling with his own muscular tension and balance.  The neck and the low back are the key areas of tension and the crying that will eventually occur in afected babies helps to expand these joints from the inside out.  Crying is nature's way of restoring balance and it is important  that each baby be allowed to cry.

This infant was treated, on the first visit for twenty minutes, paying particular attention to the compressive effects of the birth process on the cranio-sacral system.  In other words, the delicate parts of the base of the head (skull) which get compressed  and twisted during the normal birth process, and the low back which is also compressed by the normal birth process and is the "seat" of colic, were gently treated to relieve the discomfort and distress of the infant.  After the first session, the infant's suck became strong and it was necessary to break it with a finger.  The treatment techniques used included Robert Fulford's vibratory percussion, myofascial release, and cranial-sacral osteopathic technique.

The arching of the back and the challenge of holding the baby for feeding improved over the next three sessions.  The feeding became easier and the baby settled down.  Then the cranial asymmetry began to become more prominent as the head grew.  Thanks to the application of cranio-sacral treatments, the asymmetry of the head was improved and the mother relaxed.

The feet are often of concern to parents and this baby was no exception.  The left foot curved toward the right mid calf and was quite stiff shortly after birth.  The extremity was gently relaxed during the course of treatments.

The baby has been an inspiration to me and to his mother.  The lactation consultant who referred the baby to me hoped that all babies who had difficulty feeding could be examined for mechanical causes of their discomfort.  Examination in the first year of life may uncover treatable asymmetries that are most easily affected for a lifetime of benefits.

 

Dr. Wanczyk took her first course in Cranial Osteopathy as a student in 1977 where she met Dr. Robert Fulford, as he was one of the instructors in the course.  Contact on two other occasions for a lecture and a course on Vibratory Percussion directly inspired the  development of the practice style that has benefited all age groups in the practice, including the above patient.

 

 

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