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Cranial Osteopath upset me!(28 Posts)
My son is almost 8 weeks old and hasn't been a very easy baby so far. Up until about 6 weeks he cried ALL the time. On another mum's recommendation I took him to a cranial osteopath last week to see if anything could be done - I'd also heard great things about CO on this site.
The osteopath worked on him and said he had some birth trauma (emc) and that he would need a couple more sessions. So yesterday I took him back for his next appointment and the osteopath asked me to lie on the couch with DS so he could treat us both. Afterwards he said that he thought DS and I hadn't bonded properly and that he could feel that I am anxious. He was very nice and said that I have to trust I'm a good mum, blah blah... But it has really upset me that he basically said the reason DS is uspet and anxious is because I am, and I've projected that onto him. I just feel rubbish because in my heart of hearts I suppose I know it's true - DS was very much wanted and I always imagined I'd be a laid back mum but I have found it hard, and have been much more uptight about the whole thing than I thought I would be.
Don't really know what I expect you lot to say but DS and I both have horrible colds and are staying in today, so just wanted a chat I guess!
Please don't take this the wrong way but it is often upsetting to be told something that you secretly believe to be the truth - especially if you think you've been consealing it.. Does that make sense.
However I suspect it's not as straight forward as the Cranial Osteopath has said...
If baby has some birth truma - and with an EMCS i suspect you do to then things won't have been as easy as you imagined. And once things aren't like you imagine it becomes a spiral where you feed off each other and are picking up anxiety off each other (i.e. you and baby).
I assume in that you've posted this you want to break that cycle so the thing to do is to not get upset and reflect backwards too much but to take it as a call to action and plan forwards. Hopefully the osteopathy will help your baby overcome any physical discomfort they're feeling so then it will just be about settling in to being a mum and falling in love with your DC completely....
Hope that helps
hmm. that seems like a bit beyond his remit, i'd have thought. and i would have been upset too...
and i speak as someone, btw, who takes my kid to a real gobshite of a CO. i do think she is very talented and does good stuff with them, but what she actually says i just let wash over me...
congrats on your new baby, btw. i hope the CO works, it can't be easy for them if they're such wee squirts and in a bit of pain as well.
I found it very hard to "bond with" DD that early, when they scream all the time and don't give much back. I WAS tired and anxious. I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it but it's not very diplomatic!
It does get much much better, incrementally. Hang in there, just get through the first few months however you can, lots of cuddles and very low expectations - it is ever so hard.
It's lovely when they're older though, promise.
Do you know what, some babies cry, some babies whinge, some babies are quite difficult early on, and I just don't believe, having seen people who had 'easy' babies first time around then have a 'difficult' baby and nearly faint with shock, that it's all about the mother. Some babies do seem to come into this world fighting a bit and it takes a while (and a more matured gut) for them to be ok. It will happen. No wonder you are a bit anxious, you are a new mum, it's a massive life change, and you have a baby who cries a lot. It's normal to be quite stressed and anxious about this!
Personally i would take this with a pinch of salt. I had a horrible experience with a CO and so did my five month old daughter who sobbed hysterically through her one session (with the CO saying 'normally babies are really relaxed by this, I don't know why she's crying' (which shows you how much that particular person knew about bonding, she was crying as she wasn't with me!) I came away traumatised and feeling like it was all my fault, and it took my lovely husband to tell me that it was just something I should forget about and never go again! I hasten to add I do know people who found visiting a CO helpful, but the waiting room was full of normal, nervous, anxious mums with fretty babies, and at that stage, if they'd told the mums to pat their heads whilst rubbing their tummies to make their babies less irritable, they'd have done it.
I'd have more sessions with a different osteopath if i were you and not line the pockets of someone who is not doing their job very well.
Mine said nice things like 'It's tough at first isn't it? 'Your son seems fine. Let's do something to relax him and see if he sleeps better'
He did say that it was probably me who needed treatment more than ds for tension in my neck. But phrased it nicely.
Congratulations from me too.
I actually feel like punching people when they come out with the hogwash that "anxious mothers make for crying babies". It is absolute shite and should be challenged. I had one crying baby and one "textbook" baby and I can't say I did anything differently. Some babies just like crying and it doesn't mean that their mum hasn't bonded with them properly. It is an offensive suggestion.
He is talking out of his arse.
Many, many women (and men) find those first few weeks hard and wonder about bonding. Seriously, LOADS. It's a really emotionally (and physically) vulnerable time. And I think we've lost sight of what 'not bonding' means in amongst all the guff about 'the instant my eyes met my baby's I knew I would die to protect him' etc etc.
Not bonding is when you cannot or do not meet the baby's feeding and cleaning needs, you leave the baby alone and you don't care that you have. It's really extreme.
It doesn't mean that you are really quite desperate to have someone else hold the baby for half an hour so you can go and lie in a silent, darkened room. Or that you wake up and think - fuck me, this is nothing like I thought it would be and I am not behaving like the person I thought I'd become. (I'm totally projecting what it was like for me, btw, not commenting on your situation!)
I do think babies can pick up on stress, but IME it's more the sort of stress of the mother being anguished around other people or in an uncomfortable situation. I really think that a new baby who's held, and talked to gently, and of course fed and cared for as normal, and is in a neutral environment - honestly that's what they need and if you're giving it, then you have a bond. It might not be the lightning bolt bond that we are sort of sold these days, but it's there.
And I think that CO is a cock for telling you otherwise and you should find another one if you want to carry on.
Oh thankyou everyone for your quick and kind replies! I do want to give the osteopathy a try so maybe I will look into getting another one - but on the other hand maybe this guy is right and he can help us both?
Anyway I'm going to wrap up DS warm and head out for a walk - can't cope with being inside all day!
It is not your fault. I hate the way a cry-y, difficult baby is always made out to be the mother's fault. Of course you will be stressed and anxious! Who can say that they wouldn't be if the had a baby that screamed non-stop. I think it can be a bit of a 'chicken and egg' situation.
If you didn't feel comfortable/ if the CO made you feel worse you should that your DS to complete us course of treatment with a different osteopath. One you fell better about seeing and who makes you feel better about being a mum.
good for you, blonde. i'm kind of furious with this guy tbh, it's a shit's thing to say to a new mother. (and i like to think, btw, that a CO who had actually been a new mother would never have considered saying such a thing).
oh and yyy to the new mother thing, and real bonding vs fairytale bonding. i remember being quite surprised by the fact that i was still as selfish and lazy as ever, despite being a mum. (total projection here, nothing to do with you at all). and now with two kids and five years later, i STILL haven't developed the martyr mother gene. mea culpa.
I agree with the other posters that being anxious is part of the territory for first time mums - it certainly is for me! I don't think you should equate your feeling anxious with your DC's crying.
FWIW I also went to a CO who upset me, and made me feel DS was a bit of a freak baby when actually he is very normal!
This is hijacking the thread somewhat but the CO told me DS had some anxiety from when he was a 12 week foetus, as I'd been worried about miscarrying before then. Afterwards I felt a bit like "Even when he was in the womb, I was harming him"!
I do think CO is a valid practice but think that it is very easy for practitioners to capitalise on new parents' anxieties, whether that is done deliberately or not. And especially when you feel so hormonal and vulnerable that any comment can hit a raw nerve!
He's talking out of his arse, which is pretty much all that CO is anyway (my opinion and I know not shared by many on MN).
Thanks everyone. I really liked the guy the first time we saw him so I was kind of surprised when he said what he said... I think I'll give him another go next week and then decide whether to continue. Like I said, it is true that I'm anxious a lot of the time but I do think i'm getting better, and I can see a difference in DS in the last two weeks, but whether that's just due to him growing up a bit I don't know. Mummyberryjuice - it is exactly a chicken and egg situation, that's what I was thinking on my walk just now!
I agree with, MamaVoo. He's talking beyond his level of experience and CO is quack therapy anyway.
This has made me REALLY angry.
Lots of babies cry for no reason that we really understand, otherwise we'd have found a solution by now.
Most mothers are anxious to some degree.
There is very little evidence of a relationship between maternal anxiety and babies' temperament unless you're talking clinically significant levels of anxiety (I mean REALLY severe - not being able to leave the house, being too scared to pick up the baby, etc).
And - sticking out my neck here, probably wouldn't be so brave if nocake hadn't got there first - the supposedly scientific basis of cranial osteopathy is utterly, utterly ridiculous. It would be funny if it didn't lead to people throwing their money away and needlessly worrying.
I expect you're a lovely mum, Beingblonde, otherwise you'd have spent the CO money on shoes and not thought twice about the therapist's comments. You're clearly trying to do your best and I'm sure your baby will be just fine.
I agree with lots of the posts above. Most mothers are anxious at that stage, especially with a baby who is challenging for whatever reason.
I took DS to a CO at around 11 weeks as we really, really struggled to get him to sleep - all the time. She said to me "babies are like barometers, they pick up on what's happening around them. If you're stressed, they'll be stressed." I was rather as DS's struggles with sleep were the reason I was stressed.
As it turned out, the main problem with his sleep was to do with us misinterpreting his tiredness cues, not anything to do with stress.
Since he's been older and more socially aware, me being upset does have a big effect on him - but it was only from 4-6 months or so. While he cries if I'm upset, it doesn't last long.
I found the first 3 months about survival through gritted teeth, not some lovely 'bonding' experience. Now DS is 11 months and I'm often overwhelmed by the strength of my feelings for him. But it took a long time to gradually build up.
Early days unsettledness is supposed to peak at around 6-8 weeks for many babies, so hopefully things will improve for your DS now. In the meantime, carrying him in a sling as much as you can may help him settle a bit and reduce the crying.
I think there are loads of CO sceptics on MN! I am one.
As far as the baby-whispering goes, in recent years let's say a market has been cornered, which of course gives them free rein to come out with really quite manipulative stuff about maternal anxiety. Ker-ching. Be vigilant and do challenge.
CROCK OF SHIT. Cranial osteopathy, that is. Yeah, I said it.
Sorry to ask a dim question, but what actually is cranial osteopathy? What's this bloke's qualification?
Is it on the reiki/crystal healing end of spectrum or is it proper medicine?
Our CO was amazing and relaxed and even put DD1 to sleep just by massaging a pressure point in her back (and showed us how to do it). I do think they vary massively (as with any HCP) but can do really good things if they are a good one.
If you had a good feeling about him, then yes, i would try one more session but i may be slightly sceptical that he is trying to get YOU back for lots more sessions
Not read the other replies, but having had one happy, easy, placid, good sleeper baby and then one highly strung, bad sleeper who cried if not held all the time, I wouldn't be so quick to blame yourself or let others blame you. Some babies are just more tricky and it can take longer to bond with them. You may have an easy baby next time and then you will realise that the CO was a gobshite.
Beingblonde I had exactly the same feelings as you. my ds has always been really chilled and smiley despite me being a total stress head so I think to some extent babies are just born with certain dispositions and there's not much you can do to change it!
I'm not sure where you are but I when for CO at a place in London i think it's called http://www.fpo.org.uk/index.html the osteopathic centre for ds and myself and they were lovely very understanding of how shit motherhood can be sometimes and also it was just a lovely place to go. I had some medical issues after the birth and walked in there when ds was three weeks old and sobbed and they couldn't have been nicer. I think they deal with stressed out new mums all the time. If you are in london I would highly recommend it. I'm not sure how effective it was to sort out ds's issues such as reflux as we had been going for such a long time but as a support for me it was awesome.
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