Newborn babies, cry. But the instincts of this tired and frazzled mum told her that her baby’s crying wasn’t normal. Fortunately she found Cliffs and with Arif’s help things changed for baby Jack and mum Andrea.
You may have read this story in the Echo …
Click here to read baby Jack and mum Andrea’s story in the Echo.
Andrea Richardson, from Thorpe Bay, was 28 years old when she gave birth to her first son Jack. It was October 2014 and both she and her husband were looking forward to welcoming their new baby into their lives. Her pregnancy had been problem-free apart from some concerns over his growth rate which had to be monitored, so they were ill-prepared for what happened next. Jack was positioned in such a way that a normal delivery was no longer an option but he was already in the birth canal and had to be manoeuvred back for the emergency Caesarean. The result that Jack was born with a black eye and an ability to cry for England.
Jack couldn’t settle, wouldn’t sleep and just cried all day and all night long. The only way he could be soothed was if he was propped upright. So for 10 weeks Andrea sat upright to help Jack get some respite, but she was shattered, needed sleep to recover from the operation and was suffering from post-natal depression. “As a first-time mum you do feel that everything’s your fault. But I knew it wasn’t normal for a baby to cry like this; I believed there had to be an underlying reason. He was very unhappy and I felt powerless to do anything.” But Andrea is a resourceful woman and decided to take Jack to a baby massage class and see if that might help him stop crying. It didn’t. She was asked to leave the session as Jack’s constant crying was disrupting the class! The next stop was her GP, but she took the precaution of filming Jack to demonstrate how relentless his crying was. After viewing the video, the advice was almost as disappointing as it was patronising. “He told me that I was a nervous new mum and a crying baby is natural. Basically, he told me to ‘get over it’. But I couldn’t get over it. My son deserved to enjoy life, to be calm and happy.”
Andrea became a bit of a recluse. She couldn’t take Jack anywhere because of his crying, not even in the car as he would scream as soon as he was in the car seat and the pram was no better; she couldn’t connect with other mums either as they weren’t experiencing anything like this with their babies. “I was feeling very isolated, but I was determined to help Jack, and that’s when I went online and entered ‘birth trauma’ in the search bar. Arif Soomro of Cliffs Chiropractic Clinic, in Westcliff-on-Sea, came up straight away and I made an appointment to see him there and then.
Arif Soomro is the co-founder of Cliffs, and is a specialist in using craniopathy to treat babies and young children. Craniopathy is a form of gentle manipulation that repairs the distortions to the delicate plates in the skull that can cause discomfort and pain. These distortions are usually, but not exclusively, caused by the pressure exerted on the skull during childbirth. Its primary aim is to balance the tension in the membranes and fascia within the skull, restoring normal neurological, blood and cerebro-spinal fluid flow and to the nervous system.
“Jack was 10 weeks old when we saw Arif for the first time. He asked me lots of questions, examined Jack, but didn’t treat him. On the second visit, he told me what needed to be done to help Jack, we agreed the treatment schedule and that’s the day my life turned around.”
“Jack presented with a common cranial distortion known as ‘inferior vertical strain’” said Arif. “This appears as a narrowing of the forehead, a high palate and flattened rear skull. It can also lead to altered spinal curves, flat feet and toes that point inwards. Because of the high palate the tongue cannot easily rest in the roof of the mouth and babies can become nasal breathers with poor dental alignment and grow up with poor sagging posture. When treating Jack I gently directed pressure at various points upon the skull and in his mouth, in cycle with his breathing, to encourage balancing spinal motion. We cannot always know the pain a baby feels but it is reasonable to assume they do feel discomfort and distress. My objective is a simple one: to ‘reset any faults’ I detect with minimum intervention, so that the body’s natural ability to regulate and heal itself returns.”
Just before Andrea left the clinic Arif told her that Jack might feel a little sleepy. Andrea was hoping against hope he was right. “When I got home Jack slept for seven hours straight and he did that for the next three nights in a row. I couldn’t believe it.”
After six weeks he was like a new baby – happy, calm, sleeping well and rarely grizzly. Jack’s now 16 months old and his trademark look is a big smile.