In this regard, we spoke with Cari Naftali, a craniosacral therapist and lactation specialist, who knows exactly the issues that parents can face - from breastfeeding problems to other complications with their babies, such as sleep and digestive issues.
In fact, even when parents do all of their homework before the big day, it can still prove to be a very difficult chapter in their lives. Such was the case for the Fortune family.
“We felt as though we had prepared thoroughly for the birth of our first child. We had taken pre-natal classes and read through some advice online. We were aware of some breastfeeding concepts, like the need for a ‘good latch’. In a way, we had assumed that it would be as easy as pie. This turned out to be pretty naive”, Brian Fortune, Cari’s client, said.
“We quickly learned that breastfeeding can
be incredibly challenging. My partner's breasts became sore and injured. Our
beautiful baby was not getting enough food, he seemed weak and frankly, the
situation felt dire. I was becoming frightened for everyone’s physical and
mental health”, he added.
It was then, by coincidence, that they met Cari who helped this couple overcome all of these obstacles. “She tackled the acute problem directly and made certain our baby received milk. In the coming days and weeks, with kindness and patience, she coached Mummy and Baby through the delicate nuances of breastfeeding”. According to them it “transformed our whole early-parenting experience”.
“Soon our baby was feeding calmly and regularly. My partner's body didn’t take too long to heal. From there it was up-and-up, the beginning of a wonderful twenty-two months of comfortable, successful breastfeeding and bonding”, he added.
Cari is from the USA but currently lives in Carvoeiro, Algarve. Back in the USA, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and then trained and worked extensively as a birth doula, assistant midwife, energy healer, and herbalist.
During that time, she had problems breastfeeding her own baby, which eventually led her to immerse herself deeper into the subject. After much study, she became a lactation counsellor and craniosacral therapist and pursues her passion: working with babies.
Since 2015, she has volunteered three times in Greece to work specifically with breastfeeding mothers who had escaped the war in the Middle East.
At the moment, she no longer attends births but is happy to provide a great deal of help during the first few months of life - when some breastfeeding problems tend to occur.
What craniosacral therapy consists of?
“Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on healing approach that promotes deep relaxation and relieves pain and tension from deep within the body. It is effective in releasing blockages throughout the body”, it reads on her website.
"It's a subtle yet profound technique, that's why I enjoy craniosacral. I've learned various healing modalities and I love craniosacral for babies because it's so gentle.”, says Cari.
"I have worked with people of all ages. In terms of craniosacral therapy, working with adults tends to be a longer, deeper process, whereas the baby responds very quickly." At the moment, she mainly works with babies.
Joining two areas of knowledge
"My specialty is combining lactation counselling with craniosacral therapy because as a lactation counsellor I can diagnose the breastfeeding issues," she said, adding that they can be a result of varied causes including structural, physiological, or emotional, to name a few. She noted that the earlier that these challenges are addressed, the easier they are to resolve.
At times a mother believes that she is not producing enough milk, but this is rarely the case and with the proper support the baby can feed normally.
Having a support network
When I asked what Cari would recommend to new parents, she said that it is very helpful for new families to join support groups and connect with people going through the same life transitions. In this regard, there are some international English-speaking organisations that provide free support to mothers. La leche league is a wonderful resource for breastfeeding mothers and families and there are several other local online forums as well.
"In previous times, we had mothers and sisters and aunts around. There was always some female support and guidance and now we just expect mothers to figure out everything themselves”, she pointed out.
“It’s very hard being a new parent, it's a joyful journey but one that can be full of worry. Cari’s help was invaluable to our new family”, Brian Fortune said.
If you would like to get in touch with Cari, please call or text (Signal or Whatsaap) + 351 967 119 763 and have a look at her website: www.carinaftali.com