reflux is getting on my nerves!
Too true! and….Reflux getting on your baby’s nerves is actually quite possible!
The vagus nerve is a long branching nerve which snakes throughout the body. It is one of 12 cranial nerves and extends from the brainstem all the way to the abdomen. It connects with the voice-box, the throat, the upper palate, the heart and lungs and portions of the digestive system. It gets involved in the involuntary nervous system and commands unconscious body function, like keeping the heart rate constant and controlling food digestion. It’s such an important nerve and yet not much is said about it being affected by the physicality of birth.
When a baby travels from the safety of the mother’s uterus to the outside world, their soft skull has to mould to a shape that fits through the mother’s pelvis. If there is a mismatch between the size of the baby’s head and the capacity of the pelvis, passage may be restricted and baby will need help to pass through. Sometimes the delivery nurses will use forceps or a ventouse (suction) to assist. Whilst this assistance is vital, the baby’s head can be overstretched, rotated and stretched at the same time and the cranial nerve can become stressed and sensitive which could trigger sensitivities with digestion and feeding.
Some parents turn to Paediatric Osteopathy before they turn to Infant Gaviscon. The task of the osteopath is to understand what has gone wrong and why, and to use his or her hands to resolve the issues. The idea that someone can place their hands on a baby’s tummy to fix his sickness problems sounds like magic, but infact spotting a tight diaphragm caused by a stressful birth; massaging it to help relax it; and stopping sickness, sounds very logical to me.