I often recommend bodywork for the babies of my clients. As a lactation consultant, it is my job to look at the entire baby–not just the mouth–to get to the underlying cause of any breastfeeding challenges. When I see structural issues that may cause a problem for breastfeeding or overall function, I refer to someone I trust. Michael Hahn is one of those very special bodyworkers who I rely on to help me help my clients. Here is what he says about working with infants.
Most people think of newborns as perfectly healthy without any discomforts or limitations. For the most part, this is true. But restrictions do show up after spending many months quickly growing in utero. An arm, leg and/or neck and head can end up in an odd position causing tension and discomfort. Then there is the birth process: Hours, or even days of labor followed by a sometimes rough transition into the outer world.
Unfortunately, when there are restrictions, babies do not have the words to express what is nagging them. They may be cranky, have a hard time feeding, or show other signs of physical limitations in their body.
Listed below are some of the issues that bodywork can address:
Irritated or overly fussy
Breastfeeding difficulties: Latching problems, excessive sleepiness, sucking difficulties, crying while feeding, position preference, clenching jaw
Excessive spitting up or gassiness
Turns head to one side
Arching when crying or feeding.
Torticollis (tightness on one side of the neck)
Tongue tie (in most cases body work occurs after the release)
Cranial bones or sutures (joints between cranial bones) that are uneven
Asymmetry of face, jaw or head
Prenatal or birth issues:
Invasive procedures or c-sections.
The work is guided by my hands-on assessment of the body. The body is designed to move comfortably. When restrictions are present, discomfort and potential problems develop. Very light pressures are used for both the assessments and the treatments. The treatments are not painful or uncomfortable in any way. In fact, most babies seem to enjoy them! Every treatment is unique for each individual because each person requires treatment specific to their body’s needs. A guiding principle of the work is that the body wants to heal, can heal, and sometimes needs a small boost in that direction. This work treats the whole person. When the whole is balanced, infants feel better, feed better and sleep better. Babies usually improve dramatically after 1 or 2 sessions.
“Thank you for referring me to Michael. Reggie’s hands used to be up by his face all the time and his jaw was so tight, it hurt to breastfeed. Now his arms are relaxed and I am breastfeeding pain free!”
See also: “Bodywork for Baby Leah”
For more about Michael, visit his website, www.mmhahn.com