This all started because my daughter Olympia, the girl twin has had feeding issues from the very beginning and our lactation consultant referred us to an infant physical therapist who also practices craniosacro therapy. Even though pregnancy and childbirth are incredibly natural doesn't mean that it comes without a cost. With twins, they are even more cramped for space in utero and are more prone to areas of chronic tension once they are born.
Poor little Olympia was defiantly squished into an uncomfortable position, evident by her twisted legs and lopsided head. The very first image I have of her in my head from when she was born was my OB holding her up and her little legs both hooked sharply to the left (her right). Her head wasn't a red flag until she was almost a month old and it still had a funny shape. Most vaginally delivered babies have cone heads from being in the birth canal so that was what I attributed it to until it failed to round out after a few weeks.
Her body also seemed unnaturally tense; she just never fully relaxed even while being held and rocked. When we took her for her first appointment, the PT confirmed that she also felt that Olympia had some pretty serious myofacial tension that was likely very uncomfortable for her. Think about how awful you feel after sleeping on a bad pull-out sofa bed... Thankfully babies are much more flexible and resilient when it comes to uncomfortable positions, but months of being tightly stuck in that position will still cause them harm.
The tension in her neck was not only making her what my husband and I nicknamed, "the cranky one," but it was affecting her ability to eat. She was having trouble nursing well at the breast and when she took a breastmilk bottle, she was a very sloppy eater and much of the milk ended up wasted down her chin and neck. When her mouth was assessed, her tongue was super tight, especially in the back which prevents her from sucking effectivly.
Infant physical therapy and craniosacrial therapy should be incredibly gentle, so gentle in fact that it may not look like the practitioner is doing anything! The baby should melt like butter in their hands as they work their magic. In our first session, Olympia looked more relaxed than she ever had in the therapists hands. This woman was the Baby Whisperer.
Olympia was the one with obvious problems that needed to be worked on but since we were there and making the trips for her, we wanted an assessment done on Atlas, our boy twin. He only has minor tension. He favors looking over his right shoulder more than is normal for an infant (a slight favoring of one side is normal).
Both babies have a list of homework exercises that we work through each day. These exercises are actually great for all babies! I think of it as their yoga. My babies are already practicing asana to strengthen their muscles and develop healthy flexibility to balance their bodies. These exercises promote body awareness and the rhythmic movements are calming to the central nervous system. Not only that, but it's an awesome way to facilitate bonding between you and baby!
I know firsthand how hard it can be to "play" with young babies; newborns in particular. It's really difficult to engage them in activities when they don't give much feedback and it's essential to their wellbeing and happiness to give them adequate stimulation. These exercises can be done all in one session or a few different times throughout the day. They are a wonderful guided way to interact with your baby while also benefiting their physical and emotional development.
Twin Mom, Yogi, and Health Nut!