A 14-week-old low-weight infant presented recently with plagiocephaly, torticollis, and failed tie revisions. This is a hypothetical progression of events from six hours of labor stuck in the birth canal: Pressure on the head and neck 🠖 bilateral TMJ fascial strain 🠖 jaw pain on nursing 🠖 limited feeding 🠖 lack of nourishment 🠖 low weight. Usually I have found that a one-sided TMJ strain can cause a nursing problem, but a bilateral TMJ strain is more likely to cause low birth weight.
After birth defects, preterm births and low birth weight is the second-leading cause of infant death in America. In 2018, this condition accounted for about 17% of infant deaths before one year of age. I would strongly recommend that the Gillespie Approach be done right at birth, whenever possible, to allow these newborns to nourish well.
When I see them at weeks old, these babies are often diagnosed with failure to thrive with low weight. They need to be identified right at birth. We do not often encounter life and death, but I believe the Gillespie Approach can make a difference for these NICU babies.
I cannot speak for every baby in this situation, but I believe that the great majority have difficulty nursing, digesting, and gaining weight because of a tight fascial web. Dozens of these babies over my career have responded nicely to the Gillespie Approach. They did not have any obscure disease or odd syndrome; they were simply tight from soft tissue birth trauma.
I discovered early on in the 1980s that it was not enough to just do therapy on the oral structures. Many times one area of the web can pull on another area. As an example the fascia from the pelvis or trunk can readily pull into the mouth.