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Cranial Osteopathy-does it help constipated babies?

(19 Posts)
bellsbaby Thu 16-Jun-11 20:35:10

My DD is 20 weeks old and has suffered with constipation since she was @ 5 weeks old. Sometimes she will go 9 days without a poo, which causes her much distress. We've been to the docs- but the lactulose and movicol prescribed haven't really helped as she is entirely BF and its difficult to get her to take the meds. Has anyone used a Cranial Osteopath for baby constipation? Also I've recently started to give her baby rice once a day but am worried this might be making her worse...

yomellamoHelly Thu 16-Jun-11 21:05:44

Yes! Was fab. Took a couple of sessions with ds1 who was around 2 1/4 (? - think he's 7 1/2 now so long time ago). We then used to go back every few months for "top-ups" when things started to go amiss (she could get him to "go" every time either during the session or straight after. Ds2 then had the same problem at 7 months. She sorted it out in one session and again we'd see her once in a while when it raised it's head, but not many times I think (saw her for other issues too).

DBennett Fri 17-Jun-11 16:31:43

I'm afraid there is no high quality evidence to suggest cranial osteopathy can be of benefit for constipation in infants.

And there's no reason to think it would be beneficial in any condition.

There are other things you might want to try though (apologies if you've heard them before):

If your baby is constipated but has not yet started to eat solid foods, the first way to treat them is to give them extra water between their normal feeds. If you are using formula milk, make the formula as directed by the manufacturer and do not dilute the mixture.
You may want to try gently moving your baby's legs in a bicycling motion or carefully massaging their abdomen (tummy) to help stimulate their bowels.

Taken from the nhs website on constipation in infants.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 17-Jun-11 16:35:05

Yes, it had an amazing effect on mine. Our baby would not poo for a week to ten days at a time and you can imagine the squawking that went on. We visited a cranial osteopath after trying a lot of boring predictable remedies, extra water, leg cycling etc, which made no difference at all. We had three sessions, and each one had a marvellous effect. We couldn't afford any more so eventually I weaned early on to green beans.

bellsbaby Fri 17-Jun-11 19:45:18

Thank you all! Green beans? Interesting!

thisisyesterday Fri 17-Jun-11 19:49:20

is she breastfed? if so it's quite normal for them not to go for long stretches of time.
they can get a little distressed when it's getting ready to pop though!

when she goes what is the consistency like? if it's loose then it isn't constipation, which you would expect to be very hard and compacted/pellet-y

i would also stay off the baby rice for a while

p.s, i have used cranial osteopathy for various things, and would sing its praises but not for this!

Gooseberrybushes Sat 18-Jun-11 09:15:14

"a little distressed " grin oh my golly gosh it was appalling distress, unbelievable. I could have balanced her between two chairs, she was ramrod stiff, red and and screaming for hours.

if the consistency is loose I think that's a good sign that CO could help, because it could be some kind of gut kink or stress/tension from birth that hasn't resolved itself yhet

Gooseberrybushes Sat 18-Jun-11 09:18:02

ps re weaning: pureed fruit is often full of pectin which is what they use to make jam so not the best really!

thisisyesterday Sat 18-Jun-11 16:06:40

cranial osteopathy deals with the bones, in the head.

not sure how that is going to help the gut?

that said, it does make you relax a lot, so maybe that's why it has some effect on poo-ing

Gooseberrybushes Sat 18-Jun-11 17:06:07

I think we all are aware of how stress and pain affects the gut? It's pretty obvious really - indeed you've said it in your last sentence. Whatever adjustment goes on in the head, must relieve a lot of buit up pain and stress, which in turn will ease pressure in the gut. Certainly our CO thought it was a very sensible idea to contact her for constipation issues, and she said lots of mums do. Maybe she was unusual? Not sure. It had a very impressive effect for us.

DBennett Sat 18-Jun-11 18:38:12

There seems to be an assumption that craniosacral therapy has some basis in anatomy or physiology.

It does not.

There are many reasons why it might seem to work.
Especially on a variable and often self-limiting condition like infant constipation.

But it almost certainly doesn't.

Gooseberrybushes Sat 18-Jun-11 18:41:55

OP, must say it wasn't a coincidence or self-limited in my case - each visit to the cranial osteopath was followed within hours by an immediate end to the constipation and an increasing number of days of normality, before the stress and constipation began to reappear. This is one of the reasons why it "seemed to work". If only we'd been able to afford more "coincidences" like this, we wouldn't have had to wean so early.

moosky Sun 19-Jun-11 21:56:57

There may not be any medical evidence (yet) but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the success of cranial ostepathy to treat.
I also speak from experience.
I visited one with DS when he was 6 weeks old. He was fractious, windy and always unhappy. Even after a feed he contorted his little body in pain. We tried lots of remedies. GP said he had 'colic' without examination (!!) and he would eventually grow out of it!!
I coudn't see my baby so miserable so went to a CO on recommendation.
After a throrough medical history, he very gently manipulated all areas of DSs body, including his abdomen. Within minutes, my unhappy baby relaxed and calmed down. I left that day with a different child! Seriously, I saw him change before my very eyes.
My second encounter was when DS was 6 months old and I'd started weaning him onto solids. He became very constipated, so I took him to the GP who gave him lactulose. I then starting thinking about whether treating the symptoms not the cause was the best way forward and decided it wasn't. I made an appointment to see the cranial ostep. He spent a few minutes gently massaging DSs abdomen (said there was a blockage) and within an hour, DS did a huge poo explosion and that was the end of the problem. No more constipation!
I do get a little cross angrywhen people state their isn't any evidence supporting the success of cranial therapy. The simple reason is that the funds haven't yet been made available to reseach it! It's only a matter of time before funds are made available and the medical profession will need to embrace this very gentle complementary therapy.

DBennett Sun 19-Jun-11 23:04:40

"The simple reason is that the funds haven't yet been made available to reseach it!"

This is inaccurate.

There has been research into craniosacral therapy.

It's just low quality and unconvincing.

I linked to a good summary before, I do so again in case you missed it.

It is biologically implausible (which is to say that craniosacral therapy worked it would overturn decades of basic science research).

Practitioners are unable to give consistent diagnosis or demonstrate consistent effects on physiological measurements.

When tested in a manner which avoids sources of cognitive bias it appears to be no more effective than placebo.

Some risks, though rare, are on record.

You would appear to advocate more research into this field.
I think there are more useful ways to use the resources.

As I do with regards the OP.

Keeny Mon 20-Jun-11 00:50:08

Bellsbaby, what type of a birth did your baby have? Your baby's body could be in shock. My ds had a hardish birth. For a couple of months he suffered constipation. He was hospitalised over it. No surgery involved. Went from doctor to doctor and was given laxose, gluctulose, movical, suppositories, all types of laxatives and was told that his insides were weak and needed help from laxatives to help him move. I was appalled by the length of time I had to keep him on laxatives (could be months or even longer). Think of the damage they would do to his insides. So I researched the internet and found that homeopathy was a natural remedy that could help. I took him to a homeopath who carried out a case study on him (took 1 and a half hrs). I found out his body was still in shock from his birth. Even though his head had been telling him to poo, his body was holding it back). I was given a remedy that dissolved on his tongue which released the shock from his body and he is pooing like he should be!

bellsbaby Mon 20-Jun-11 11:53:31

Poor little munchkin did have a fairly traumatic time at birth. They broke my waters when I was 7 cm dilated, she popped back up and I went back to only 3 cm dilated! They gave me the hormone drip to speed up contractions and Her heart rate kept dropping; they took the blood scrapping sampled of her scalp 3 times to check for oxygen levels. After being in established labour for over 30 hours I had an emergancy C section- they discovered that DD was back-to-back anyway! I guess it takes us both time to get over that-but would she still be in shock after 5 months? Interestingly DD was prescribed gaviscon and ranitidine at 4 weeks for reflux. We stopped using it after a further 4 weeks when she was passing solid poo's and she has never been the same since. Can babies as young as this make a conscious decision to hold it in?
Thanks all for your helpful comments!

DBennett Mon 20-Jun-11 23:05:27


There can be long term problems which result from a traumatic birth but to the best of my knowledge constipation is not one of them.
And no, at 5 months children have no control over their bowels.
Potty training will remind you that they have little control at 2yrs either.


I have no doubt that you believe that homeopathy has benefited your DS.
and I'm glad he's better.
But homeopathy has been proved, as decisively as we are ever likely to see, to be no more effective than placebo.

And I think you should be careful using terms like shock, it has a fairly precise medical meaning which I'm pretty sure you're not eluding to.

Gooseberrybushes Mon 20-Jun-11 23:43:11

The long term problems can include pain and stress which can lead to constipation smile as any fule kno

deleting Mon 20-Jun-11 23:52:42

worked for ds2. he was early and had really bad constipation and was constantly straining, had hernia as well and strained so much that got strangulated and had to be operated on. we took him to an osteopath and they were great, the wind released during the sessions was incredible (for him!) that no amount of massaging could shift, always pooped straight after and this lasted for about a week before it started all over again. He's bf. ds1 could go for up to 10 days without pooping, but this wasn't the same, ds2 was in a lot of discomfort all the time.

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