Osteopathic treatment for unsettled, fussy and irritable infants in their first year of life : mothers’ experiences and effect on infant temperament
Covich, Olivia Amber
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Citation:Covich, O.A. (2015). Osteopathic treatment for unsettled, fussy and irritable infants in their first year of life: Mothers’ experiences and effect on infant temperament. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Osteopathy, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/3452
Background: Unsettled, fussy and irritable infant behaviour is a common complaint causing significant stress for parents. A lack of support during this time has been linked to negative effects on both infant and maternal health. Despite reports of anecdotal success, limited academic literature explores mothers’ first hand experiences with osteopathy during this time. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine mothers’ perspectives on the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment in the management of unsettled, fussy and irritable infants during their first year of life to enhance clinical understanding and inform future practice. Methods: Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from each of 7 mother-infant dyads (2 primiparous women and 5 multiparous women) over a 3 month period, between February 2015 and July 2015. Interpretive description formed the theoretical framework used to analyse the main interview data. Supplementary mother notebooks and osteopathic treatment summaries were reviewed and summarised. The Infant Behaviour Questionnaire –Revised was also used as an objective tool to accompany subjective findings. Results: Key findings revealed 3 central themes with 9 sub themes to express the mothers’ journeys over time. Firstly ‘this can’t go on’ (retrospective, prior to osteopathic intervention), secondly ‘realising it will be okay’ (reflecting both infant and maternal maturation evident between interviews) and lastly ‘a happy baby is a happy mother’ (improvements promoting a happier relationship between mother and infant. Conclusions: Professional understanding and support is crucial in the management of unsettled, fussy and irritable infants to minimise the negative effects on both infant and maternal health. Osteopathy appears beneficial in infant). enhancing quality of life for both infant and mother during a difficult, yet self limiting period of time.