There’s just gotta be more to explain than just medication and gas, she thought with frustration, as she left the doctor’s office with an empty heart and a prescription note in her hand.
A mother had just brought her infant, who was a little over one month old, to the doctor’s office. Her baby was frequently crying and vomiting. She was desperate to help her baby and herself.
The doctor recommended gas drop supplements and prescribed Zantac. He said some babies have a harder time digesting gassy foods, and need extra help.
“This is normal.”
He also warned about the side effects of these medications:
“Please try not to give too much. Be very careful with your use.”
But why? Why do some babies have a harder time with digestion than others? Is there never any cure? And why does something that is supposed to help us, is warned as being so harmful? What kind of cruel world is this? Is there no winning?
“We simply don’t know,” he said, being careful not to make eye contact. He typed away his notes on the computer.
The truth is, the experience of this mother was no different than millions of other parents trying to find answers to their baby’s difficult behaviour. Colic, they are sometimes told, and off they are sent home.
Having been pregnant and a parent, I know what it is like to suffer through unexplainable pain, fatigue, and discomfort with no answers, and sent home with a prescription, or nothing, no less.
Now that I am a doula and have more experience on both a personal and professional level, the one valuable lesson I have learned is this:
If your intuition as a parent tells you that there’s something worth understanding and resolving at the root level, then your intuition is probably right.
So when your family doctor tells you that you or your baby’s difficulties and painful experiences, regardless of how minor they may seem, are “normal”, you do not need to take their word for it.
The truth is, our doctors, who have been trained by the principles of allopathic medicine, do not have the education to explore and truly heal root causes of dis-eases.
Medical doctors are informed by the allopathic medicine paradigm. Allopathic medicine treats health issues using medication, radiation, and surgery. This is what their curriculum is comprised of.
You can ask yourself a basic question when deciding to go to the family doctor or not: will you be content with a medical recommendation that primarily involves medication, radiation, or surgery? Or suggested the good old “nothing” because this is normal?
Or are you interested in digging deeper and looking to heal you or your baby’s body?
There is no judgment in what you prefer, but as a doula, it is by the nature of my profession that you are informed about your options so that you can decide where to go and what to do for your health concerns.
What I will say is this: no matter where you go, there is no wrong place to start. Every wellness professional will offer you sage advice or treatment modality that will support your health and wellness journey in their unique way. Yay! This is very good news.
What I want to do in this post, is give you a gist of what different professionals may do to support your wellness.
It is also important to keep in mind that different professionals tend to have their own specializations, even within the scope of their practice. So before deciding on a nutritionist, or manual therapist, etc., you can do some research about what they specialize in, ask around and go from there.
What would they do or say?
Homeopathic doctor: Homeopaths recommend homeopathic remedies by understanding your personality as a whole. For acute conditions, they will suggest certain remedies that work across the board. Homeopathic remedies work at the energy level using the concept of resonance. The idea is that when the energy vibrancy of a remedy matches with yours, it is meant to activate your neurones and instil healing in the body.
They will try to understand both emotional and physical triggers, as well your personality as a whole before prescribing a remedy. For babies, they will want to know the mother’s emotional and physical pregnancy experience.
Herbalist/Botanist: Herbalists and botanists study herbs, plants and their properties and how they respond to various conditions. Pharmacists don’t study plants, so if you go to a pharmacist, they could never recommend a plant-based remedy for you (this would be unethical, since they don’t have that kind of training!). They are excellent sources of professional support if you are looking to heal an ailment using natural, plant-based remedies.
Often, homeopaths will have some training in this area as well. Look into homeopathic pharmacies if you are interested in herbal remedies!
Holistic Dentist: They can check for issues related to oral health, including breathing patterns and inflammation in the mouth. Depending on their training, they may also be orofacial myofunctional therapists, who can help you become a closed mouth breather. This may help resolve you or your baby’s sleep issues, late talking, and focus issues (such as ADHD). Closed mouth breathing is crucial in order to make sure the brain is getting the oxygen it needs! This may just be the root cause of illness for your situation.
Holistic dentists also recognize that inflammation that can be diagnosed in the gums and teeth are related to deeper issues, primarily located in the gut. The more robust your gut health is, the less likely you will have issues with oral health. They will support you in healing those issues.
Holistic Nutritionist: The great thing about nutritionists is that they recognize that the gut is at the core of human health. 70-80% of your immune system lies in your gut, so if you or your baby are showing certain symptoms like digestive issues, eczema, asthma, etc. they will want to work in healing your gut (not just avoiding trigger foods, but helping your gut come to a point where it won’t be so sensitive to trigger foods).
Parents who had to take antibiotics during pregnancy can especially consider this option, because antibiotics harm the bacteria (of yourself and your baby) that line and protect the gut, so it is imperative to start healing!
Manual therapist: There are many forms of manual therapy. My personal favourite is craniosacral therapy, which is a form of osteopathic manipulation, but the opportunities are endless. From pure osteopathy, to massage therapy, acupuncture, fascial therapy, chiropractic care, and more, there are many options that provide many different benefits. So if you bring your pregnant self or your baby with digestive issues, acid reflux, pain, etc. your therapist may work for example, on correcting your alignment to resolve any tightness in your abdomen that is causing the symptom. If they have training in visceral manipulation, they may work with your organs, such as your liver, kidney, or gut in removing any stickiness so they are more efficient in eliminating toxins and removing harm from your body.
I recommend craniosacral therapy for everyone, especially babies. It helps in healing physiological root causes related to feeding issues, open mouth breathing, torticollis, and overall fussiness.
Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapist or NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) therapist: SE and NARM therapists are powerful resources for healing because they recognize the mind-body connection like no other. They are trauma informed therapists. I truly believe that every psychotherapist should have training in SE or NARM therapy. They support you in bringing your emotional, spiritual and psychological experiences back to your body and back to safety. Many of them are psychologists, but they can also be life coaches, wellness coaches or doulas.
Where in your body are you feeling this right now? I see your shoulders are tensing as you speak of this. I have noticed you tend to scratch your hand whenever you mention her name.
These are just some things you may hear during a session. What they will do is support you in bringing your mind back to physiological safety. Whether it be as simple as checking in to your five senses, or deeper emotional work by revisiting your childhood and allowing the unexpressed emotions to let out, these therapists will help heal your physical ailments at the root emotional level.
Remember the various axes that connect our minds to our bodies. Your psychological axis is connected to your neurological axis, which is connected to your nervous system, then to your endocrine (hormonal) system, and finally, to your immune system. This is the mind-body connection!
Naturopathic doctor: They may just be the go-to doctor that you need! They have training in many of the areas I mentioned above, from homeopathy, nutrition, herbs, gut health, and depending on the doctor, perhaps even more. For example, the ND we used to see for our daughter had training in hydrotherapy and NARM therapy as well.
You may choose to go to one with a specialization you look for, such as women’s health, men’s health, even oncology (cancer treatment), and more.
Bioenergy Healers: I love working with bioenergy healers because they are very in tune with the flow of life‘s energy with our bodies. They may not understand the medical issue on a scientific level, but they certainly feel the slow or restricted flow of energy, or where there is negative energy. They help revitalize the energetic force in your body. They may be able to spot your pain without you having to mention anything.
For example, while working on your leg, they may ask you if you ever had restless leg syndrome. If you’ve ever been through surgery, they may be able to point that out by simply bringing their hands over the area.
Hijama/Wet Cupping Therapist: Wet cupping helps remove toxins such as heavy metals, bacterial infections, and harmful chemicals from your body by doing very superficial slits on different points in your body and using cupping to suck out the toxic blood. It is part of Islamic and traditional Chinese medicine.
Just like all other health areas, you may notice that some of your symptoms start to improve spontaneously as the practitioner removes harm from your body, even though they may not have the expertise regarding the symptom as a medical doctor might.
Body Read Method (BRM) Professional: When it comes to reducing your chances of having aches and pains during pregnancy, preparing your body for birth, reducing your likelihood of experiencing injuries, having a more efficient birth, and better postpartum recovery experience, I can’t think of anyone better than a BRM professional to support your wellness journey.
Your doctors (and to some extent, midwives) will have training in the science of technology and medication to support your pregnancy and birth. A BRM pro (like myself) has training in the science of physiology to support a more pain free pregnancy, and a more efficient birth. So if a BRM pro has suggestions up their sleeve that your doctor or midwife doesn’t have, don’t be surprised! Remember, your wellness journey can be supported by multiple professionals who have different forms of training and education. That’s okay. 🙂
Aware Parenting Instructor: You can find certified aware parenting instructors on http://www.awareparenting.com. As a doula training to become an AwP Instructor, I can say that what I value about these professionals is that, just like SE and NARM therapists, they recognize the neurobiology of emotional stress and trauma in babies and children, and use the tools of play, laughter, crying and raging to help babies and children heal tension and stress from their bodies.
So if you want to address your baby’s fussiness, sleep, breastfeeding and other issues using emotional healing modalities, then working with an AwP instructor (or one in training, like me!) may be what you are looking for.
Your body has an inner physician. It knows how to heal itself once it’s given the support it needs. Don’t take suffering as your standard. Take charge of your life with what you can control! And really, regardless of where you go, you will likely find healing support.
All the best on your wellness journey! You can’t go wrong. 🙂