Are you struggling with your infant constantly waking during the night or finding it really hard to settle your little one down to sleep?
Sleep develops rapidly over the first few years of life and is a highly dynamic process. At birth, infants will sleep a total of 16-17 hours in a 24hrs period, but lack an established circadian rhythm. You will likely see multiple waking intervals due to the infants feeding needs. At 10-12 weeks old, sleep time decreases to 14-15 hours in a 24hr period as the circadian rhythm begins to develop.
One of the many factors that can affect sleep in neonates and infants is birth trauma! The evidence suggests that infants may receive musculoskeletal injuries through both traumatic and non-traumatic births. A case report recently found up to 73% of infants had one or more musculoskeletal asymmetries stemming from birth.  Some musculoskeletal issues may by asymptomatic initially but some common signs to look out for include sleep problems, feeding issues, prolonged crying, persistent head tilts, unsettled or disliking the car, bathing, nappy changes, clothing changes and tummy time.
A study in England on 220 subjects with an average age of 2.9 years, looked into the correlation with babies who had suffered birth trauma and sleep issues. 54 presented with sleep problems, 90 with pain or discomfort and 62 with feeding problems. 25% of participants who reported sleep problems initially, reported improvements in sleep after Chiropractic treatment. Another 30% of participants who initially presented with other difficulties, also noted an improvement in sleep duration and the baby’s ability to settle. This study saw an improvement in sleep, reduction in discomfort and pain, and improved feeding.  However more research is needed in this area.
If you have any questions about your baby and want to assess whether they may have a musculoskeletal issue from birth, give us a call and we will see how we can help support your little one develop and thrive.
 Davis, K. F., Parker, K. P., & Montgomery, G. L. (2004). Sleep in infants and young children: Part one: normal sleep. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 18(2), 65-71.
 Miller, J., Fontana, M., Jernlås, K., Olofsson, H., & Verwijst, I. (2013). Risks and rewards of early musculoskeletal assessment: An evidence-based case report. British Journal of Midwifery, 21(10), 736-743.
 Edwards, D., Gibb, C., & Cook, J. (2010). The benefits of chiropractic intervention for babies with sleep deprivation resulting from birth trauma. Midirs Midwifery Digest, 20(3), 373-379.
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