Leading sleep consultant and Karitane Mothercraft Nurse Dorothy Waide, aka ‘the Baby Whisperer’ and holistic pregnancy and family wellness Chiropractor Dr Adeela Afiz are working together to support parents and babies.
Both women see a lot of babies suffering from undiagnosed or misunderstood pain, which has parents at their wits end, but a more recent concern is highly emotional babies.
“Parents will often come to us if their baby is in pain or often upset and unable to be settled because they are being told by other practitioners that it’s normal for a baby to cry. Their instincts are telling them something isn’t right, but they aren’t getting the support they need”, says Dorothy.
“There is so much more of an issue now with babies who seem to be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders - their parents may be under stress, therefore, they are under stress. Babies have emotional needs and those emotional needs have to be addressed.”
While standard practice overseas for 20 years or more, holistic care for babies is a relatively new concept New Zealand.
Dorothy says many parents are now looking for alternative options and can see the benefit of a multi-pronged approach.
“Adeela and I work together to find a solution - parents get peace of mind knowing they are getting consistent advice from like-minded professionals.”
“Our approach is to support you through the parenting journey - you can’t fail as a parent. People need to understand that what works in one family unit may not necessarily work for them, and that’s OK.
“With almost 30 years’ sleep-settling experience with different families, different cultures, and different babies, I’ve gained a pool of experience and resources. I know the hard slog of having a baby that’s not sleeping – and there is no ‘one size fits all’ for babies, so I have a varied tool kit.”
Dorothy believes the key to teaching a baby to settle or resettle requires practice, commitment, and consistency and can take up to six months or as little as six weeks depending on the individual baby and the home environment. She says babies up to 12 weeks of age can be settled in the cot or in the arms, but discourages doing anything in the arms that cannot be replicated in a cot - including moving, rocking or pacing.
“Go to baby as soon as you hear them crying - a sleepy baby is easier to resettle than a baby who is wide awake and crying.”
Dorothy believes nurturing is central to giving babies their very best start in life.
“When babies are not eating, sleeping, or settling well, it is easy to become overwhelmed and not know what to do,” she says.
“In a loving family, there are two other ingredients a happy baby needs; sleep and food. If your baby is not receiving a sufficient amount of one of these, it will affect the other, and this can be very stressful for the whole household.”
Chiropractor Dr Adeela Afiz uses techniques like Kinesiology and Cranio Sacral Therapy and Neuro Emotional Technique in her holistic practice, which gives her a broader range of techniques alongside the traditional chiropractic approach.
When working with babies she uses very gentle and effective techniques with little to no manual adjustment, unlike what you may associate with chiropractic adjustments for adults.
“It’s showing parents that there are other options. Seeing a chiropractor can help their baby deal with a range of issues in an incredibly gentle way. Some of the most common complaints are colic, digestion and reflux,” she says.
“It’s amazing to see babies become calm and centered over the course of treatment,” she says.
“I had a mother who came in with a four-month-old baby who was extremely grizzly and was waking every 20 minutes throughout the night.
“We did one session together – and the next time mum came in she said she had seen so many changes - he’s just a happier, healthier baby who is now starting to sleep through the night.
That’s a pretty typical response that we see anywhere from two weeks to two months into our sessions.”
“What we work towards is a baby who sleeps when it needs to, eats when it needs to, cries when it needs to and meets all its milestones within the appropriate timeframes.”
Dorothy and Adeela are running a series of Essential Baby Help workshops throughout New Zealand.For more information visit: www.facebook.com/BabyWithin
Dorothy is dedicated to teaching new mums the timeless art and everyday parenting skills of ‘mothercraft’. She is the author of 'You Simply Can't Spoil a Newborn.'
For more information visit: www.babyhelp.co.nz