Covid-19 Update: We are open for urgent & time sensitive appointments.

Supporting the health and development of your newborn baby through Osteopathic care

Health & Developmental Support for Babies

Osteopathy for babies helps release physical tension, address movement concerns, promote body symmetry and encourages optimal physical function in newborns.

We have special interest and years of experience working with infants, and have multiple osteopaths who are recognised as advanced paediatric osteopaths with additional training and focus.

osteopathy australia
Osteopathic-Centre-For-Children
Australian Breastfeeding Association logo

Cranial Osteopathy for Babies

Cranial osteopathy for newborns involves subtly cradling and lightly massaging your baby’s head, spine and body to feel for and release imbalances. Our aim is to foster healthy realignment, improve the body’s fluid dynamics and alleviate any mechanical stress from birth or positioning in the uterus.

Why you might need an Osteopath for your Baby?

Birth is a significant event for a baby as well as the mother. Through pregnancy and any form of delivery, babies will go through different forces and stressors. Although their bodies are soft and adaptable, it may make them vulnerable to mechanical strains from the birth.

Babies of all ages are also susceptible to strains and alignment issues in their body from falls, illnesses, bumps and growth spurts. Our Osteopaths aim to realign their bodies to keep them pain-free and balanced and ensure optimal physical function as they develop.
Continue Reading

Musculoskeletal tension in babies includes issues such as; torticollis, strains from walking/crawling, shoulder dystocia, difficult births and more. Although not a direct cause, musculoskeletal tension can also be associated with more complex health conditions such as reflux, colic, irritability and flat head syndrome.
Read Less

Baby smiling crawling on an osteopath table in Melbourne osteo clinic

How does osteopathy for babies work at Growing Bones?

In our osteopathic treatments, we assess your baby’s development and aim to facilitate healthy function in all areas of newly born and growing bodies by freeing up muscles and joints, improving blood flow and maintaining body symmetry for balanced growth. With babies, the osteopath only needs to use a very light touch and movement.

The osteopath may sit with their hands gently holding the baby’s head or pelvis for several minutes at a time using only very subtle movements. At other times, the baby may be held or positioned in specific ways to gently bring about balance in the body.

Our paediatric osteopaths are trained in developmental assessment and diagnosis and work with you as well as GPs and other health professionals to develop a plan of action. This may include Osteo treatment, referral to the GP or other health professional, referral for ultrasound or X-ray, prescribing exercises or general nutritional advice.

What to expect from your baby’s osteopathic session at Growing Bones

At Growing Bones, we like to make your baby’s visit to the osteopath a pleasant experience. The osteopath can treat your baby whilst they are feeding or sleeping. Toddlers can sit and play with toys. There is no need for children to lie still on their backs when receiving treatment, although it can be nice if they’re willing! In fact, your child’s natural behaviour, movement and posture during play can help to inform the osteopath what areas of the body are functioning well, and what areas may need a little bit of help.

Cranial Osteopathy for Babies

At Growing Bones we use a range of techniques including cranial osteopathy for newborns which involves subtly cradling and lightly massaging your baby’s head, spine and body to feel for and release imbalances. Our aim is to foster healthy realignment, improve the body’s fluid dynamics and alleviate any mechanical stress from birth or positioning in the uterus.

Osteopath applying cranial osteopathy to baby on table in melbourne clinic

Treat a Problem early to Improve physical development.

Babies learn with their body before their brain. Using osteopathic treatments, we help you identify physical strains and restrictions in your newborn and then treat them before physical compensations arise.

Book Appointment

Experienced Osteopaths for Babies

We have special interest and years of experience working with infants suffering from musculoskeletal problems and physical pains. We have multiple osteopaths who are recognised as advanced paediatric osteopaths with additional training and focus on babies.

Limited Spots Available

Osteopathy for babies is fast gaining popularity as a treatment option for newborns in our clinic. Book your appointment today to reserve a spot!

Other Problems We are Commonly presented with

Assess and Treat Physical Strains to Support Babies Who are having Difficulty Breastfeeding

Our osteopaths work closely with midwives, lactation consultants, dentists, doctors and paediatricians to discover the cause of breastfeeding issues. We’re especially interested in the baby’s jaw mechanics, i.e. how far the baby can open their mouth to achieve an adequate latch and both maternal and infant comfort on the breast.

We will assess the baby's whole body- but specifically the position and movement of the upper neck and jaw, and the use of the cheeks, lips and tongue. We may wear a glove and massage inside the baby's mouth, use specific body positioning during the treatment, and prescribe take-home exercises. All treatment is delivered with the aim of keeping the baby comfortable and calm throughout.

Neck stiffness in Babies with Flat Head Syndrome

Flattening of the head in one area if a baby lies with its head in the same position for a long time - it can also happen in the womb, this is called Plagiocephaly. The bones of a newborn baby's head are thin and flexible so the head is soft and may change shape easily. A baby who can move their head freely is less likely to develop a flat spot on one area of the head after birth.

Osteopathic treatment can be applied to your baby’s head and body to help teach healthier laying positions and loosen muscles to improve neck mobility. We may also provide you with gentle stretching exercises to further promote neck mobility.

Understanding Babies with Reflux

Infant (baby) reflux is when the contents of the stomach are regurgitated (brought back up), either up the oesophagus (food tube) or into the mouth. Some babies may bring up milk without any discomfort, described by some health professionals as ‘happy chuckers’. Other babies may be unsettled during and after feeds, more so when placed on a flat surface including times during the night. Symptomatic or painful reflux is uncomfortable for both the baby and parents, and can appear in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. The major symptom of this disease is unsettledness, crying and back arching immediately before or after bringing up milk. Some babies will only bring milk partway up the oesophagus (food tube), this is called silent reflux.

While our osteopaths don’t treat reflux directly, we check for and treat musculoskeletal tension and postural preferences that may be contributing to general discomfort. We can also distinguish between symptomatic/painful reflux and ‘happy chuckers’ and refer you for appropriate care options through your GP.

A difficult, awfully long or very short delivery can create tension on an infant’s spine and ribs. It is not uncommon for a baby suffering from reflux disorder to stiffen and arch their back in pain. An osteopath can reduce the tension within muscles and joints of the spine and educate you on positions which may help your baby feel more comfortable.

Abnormal Crawling in Babies?

All babies are different, but there are benefits when a baby goes through the ‘normal’ pattern of crawling on their tummy, then creeping on their hands and knees. Alternative crawling techniques, such as bottom shuffling or crab crawling, in many instances can be corrected with early intervention. Our team can screen for causes and work to identify and treat areas of physical strain which may be causing your baby to crawl 'abnormally'. We will also prescribe exercises and positions to help your baby learn different ways to move their body and get around.

What techniques do we use?

Our team of osteopaths apply a wide range of physical treatments using their hands.

All treatments involving infants are selected to ensure your baby’s comfort, using no more pressure than would be used when holding or dressing a newborn.

Cranial osteopathy Soft tissue massage Articulation Stretching Biodynamic/cranial-sacral osteopathy
Osteopath assessing baby with gentle leg movement

The Growing Bones Difference

We have a holistic team of practitioners that work together to ensure that we're getting you the best results for your pain, mobility and quality of life. Here's just a few things that set us apart from other Osteos in Melbourne.

3 osteopaths smiling with coffee in Growing Bones Melbourne clinic

Family-centred care

Young families come to us because we have a special interest in working with infants, children & pregnant women. We have all undertaken relevant postgraduate study and we have vast experience in the area.

97% 5-star feedback

Our customers love us because of our exceptional, highly qualified practitioners, our warm & friendly manner with adults & children alike, and how well we explain things.

Education & empowerment

We empower you to feel confident about the wellness journey you’re on. We help you to gain clarity on your treatment plan and teach you ways to continue the healing outside of the Clinic so it easily fits in with your lifestyle.

Our Osteopaths for babies

We only adhere to hire the most highly trained staff available to provide expert quality care & treatment.

Melissa McDougall

Senior Osteopath & Advanced Paediatric Osteopath
Special interests: infants and children, pregnancy, sports, adults

Elizabeth Dwyer

Senior Osteopath
Special interests: infants and children, pregnancy, sports, adults

Janine Symington

Senior Osteopath
Special interests: infants and children, pregnancy, sports, adults, dry needling

SIGN UP

Book a session today & take your first step to a healthier life

We believe in making your life easier in every way. Follow the simple steps of our online booking system to book an appointment at a time that suits you.

Frequently asked questions

We want you to feel completely comfortable about what we do and how we do it. If you still have any queries, please Contact Us.

Is Cranial Osteopathy Dangerous for Babies?

Cranial osteopathy is widely considered a treatment option for babies as long as a qualified paediatric osteopath is administering treatment. When treating your baby, our osteopaths use no more pressure than is used when holding or dressing a newborn.

How can an Osteopath Help a Baby?

Osteopaths help babies relieve musculoskeletal strain and tension by applying light movements and massages to their bodies. Musculoskeletal tension in babies can often be associated with more complex health/lifestyle issues, such as; torticollis, strains from walking/crawling, shoulder dystocia, difficult births and more.

Can Osteopathy Help with Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is when the baby’s shoulders get stuck in the mother’s pelvis during the birth. It occurs in less than one percent of births. It is a very good reason to seek osteopathic treatment for your baby as their head and neck have usually been pulled into different positions to help free the shoulder during the birth.

While some babies can end up with a fracture of their collar bone, the ones who do not have this can still have some irritation of the nerves which run into their arms and also the muscles throughout their necks and shoulders.

Our osteopaths use a wide range of techniques to manage musculoskeletal symptoms and tension that are often associated with this birth complication.

Can Osteopathy Treat Physical Strains from Walking, Crawling & Sitting?

Babies often lose balance and fall when learning to sit, crawl and walk. This can result in muscle strains, limps and joint asymmetries. Our team can assess these injuries and treat minor sprains as well as provide rehabilitation advice where necessary.

How do you Address Chronic Irritability in Newborns?

Babies are irritable for all sorts of reasons, some more than others. We aim to understand factors that could be causing chronic irritability in your newborn and then make referrals to healthcare practitioners where needed. If identified, our team can treat physical strains that may be causing discomfort in your baby. We then show you optimal ways to hold and position your baby to support balanced posture and maximise comfort.
You want to look for an Osteopath with Advanced Paediatric Osteopathy or Postgraduate study in Paediatrics.

Can Osteopathy be Used to Enhance Neck Mobility in Babies?

Newborns with poor neck mobility risk flattening their head in one area (Plagiocephaly) and twisting neck muscles (CMT). Our osteopathic treatments can loosen neck muscles to improve the range of movement in your newborn’s neck. We may also prescribe stretching exercises to enhance treatment outcomes and reduce neck pain.

An Osteo's advice on caring for your body

Article May 15, 2020

Eating Healthy on a Budget

There can be a whole bunch of reasons for looking at budgeting and cutting back on food spending, saving for a holiday or a house,…

Article September 7, 2019

Easy Ways To Achieve Physical Health

National Recommendations for Weekly Exercise: – accumulate 150-300 minutes (2½-5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity (ie, you can talk but not sing), OR– 75-150 minutes…

Article December 17, 2017

Return to Exercise After Childbirth

By Lauren Clarke – physiotherapist who works with pelvic floor and lactation concerns. Why is exercise important after giving birth? o Helps muscles affected by pregnancy…