Written by Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH
I recently saw a cheerful 6-month-old baby with a very tired Mommy.
"Ashleigh is up every one to two hours at night, wanting to nurse," the mother reported.
"I feed her, but when I put her down she's up and crying again shortly after. She wants to be held constantly. This goes on all night."
Already during the pregnancy, our little baby affected mom's sleep: "I didn't sleep well during the pregnancy, that's very unusual for me."
Pregnancy and Delivery
The mother's water broke one month early and it was discovered that Ashleigh was a breech baby. A C-section was performed and Ashleigh was placed in the NICU for one week as she was not feeding well.
She was feisty from the get-go and ripped the feeding tube out of her nose. She wanted to be held constantly.
Ashleigh got a horrible diaper rash after the family changed to cloth diapers. It was hard to clear up.
Her digestion was okay now, but had been watery for the previous two months and overall tended to be on the softer side, even after starting solids now.
A Very Attentive Baby
I played with baby Ashleigh while her mother filled out the forms, carrying her around the office and showing her things. I noticed that the she was unusually attentive and focused and extremely comfortable. She was very calm and self-possessed and had a nice rosy colour and full little body.
I also noticed that her head was not shaped well, it was a bit uneven with the left side of her head being set back farther than the right. She was also holding her head off to one side when lying down.
I suspected that Ashleigh was suffering from some upper cervical and cranial misalignment which could affect her sleep. I therefor recommended that her mother take her to a chiropractor and a craniosacral therapist.
Sulfur for Frequent Waking
I was wondering if the early separation and NICU stay may have affected her, too.
I didn't really have much to prescribe on other than she wanted to feed every hour, had a tendency to loose stools, was ruddy in appearance and had unusually good focus.
I therefor prescribed the homeopathic remedy Sulfur, which has a keynote of infants wanting to nurse every hour at night. Sulfur is also a great remedy for a tendency to diarrhea. Sulfur babies and children are also often very self-possessed and precocious.
Ten days later I received an email update from the mother: "Ashleigh is thriving and sleeping much better, thank you."
What did the Trick
Of course I was wondering what had done the trick, was it the chiropractor, the craniosacral therapy or maybe even the remedy? Upon inquiry the mother wrote back: "As soon as we started the remedy she started sleeping. It was remarkable."
Then they went to see the craniosacral therapist who diagnosed the baby with something I can't remember now, but it had to do with her head shape.
A few days later I received a call from another mother with a similar baby, referred by the above patient. Same story, up and nursing every hour at night. As luck had it, she also responded to sulfur! A few days later there was another baby, a sweet four-month old this time with a similar story again. Of course you can guess what I gave him. Yes, it worked again!
But we have many other remedies, it always depends on the totality of symptoms. I've certainly used other homeopathic remedies to help babies sleep.
Also of note: Homeopathy is definitely not just placebo, as babies don't know what a placebo is!
Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH is a naturopathic doctor with a special interest in developmental and behavioural disorders. Cases are all from her practice, names have been changed, they were published with permission and are intended for education only.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic Physician
West Sooke, BC, Canada
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