Spotlight | Why Is My Baby So Fussy?
Why is my baby so fussy - mother and father with fussy baby - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy - Fruit-Powered
Fruit-Powered Digest Issues Issue 54 Spotlight

Why Is My Baby So Fussy?

Note from Fruit-Powered’s Brian Rossiter: I met Dr. Barry Gillespie in spring 2015 and have been enamored of his work in a natural health field he created, Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy. Dr. Barry Gillespie envisions Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy and his Baby Brain Score and Infant-Driven Movement redefining the global infant standard of care. He continues to create and practice the Gillespie Approach at the King of Prussia Medical Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where he welcomes patients from around the world. His website is GillespieApproach.com.


Imagine learning nurturing skills from your mother for the first time as a bright-eyed, doll-cradling 7-year-old girl and picturing the joy of your older self having and caring for your baby or babies. Imagine being a mother-to-be, reading numerous books to prepare you for the big day when your very first child enters the world and his or her earliest months of life.

You think you’re all ready.

And then you hear a sound.

Waaaaahhhhh! Waaaaahhhhh!

The crying seemingly doesn’t stop.

Imagine giving birth to your baby and then discovering that he or she is not able to nurse well. This is the first inkling that you have a fussy baby. Imagine, in the following days and weeks, that no matter what you do, you cannot comfort your little boy or girl. Picture yourself going through endless nights of broken sleep and experiencing stress and even misery in trying to bring solace to your fussy baby, crying out with seemingly no resolution.

This should be the greatest time of your life. So why is it so challenging?

Watch Dr. Barry Gillespie’s Video “Why Are Babies Fussy?”

Read the accompanying transcript on the Gillespie Approach website.

Having a fussy baby can blemish the feeling of pure joy and love in caring for your newborn. A commonly held belief, even in the medical community, is that fussy babies are considered to be “normal.” New mothers across the world would rejoice to know that there exists a gentle, noninvasive, drug-free therapy designed to help fussy babies become not only happy babies but healthy babies, ready for life in ways most children are not. Happy babies generally make for happy mothers and happy families, so this treatment can turn out to be golden for everyone in the household.

Gentle Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy Can Correct the Structural Effects of Fetal and Birth Traumas, Leaving Fussy Babies Feeling Happy and Healthy

I founded Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy and have worked on more than 1,000 fussy babies since 1980, helping them become happy babies. My unique therapy, the result of combining craniosacral therapy with myofascial release therapy, has shown to be beneficial for scores of health conditions afflicting babies, children and adults.

Many babies I work with suffer from difficulty in latching on, sucking or swallowing while breastfeeding and nursing. Twenty-five to 45 percent of normally developing infants and children and as many as 80 percent of developmentally delayed infants and children, including babies born prematurely, experience oral feeding difficulties, according to a study published in 2010. Other babies who come to my office are affected by colic, constipation, gas, indigestion, pyloric stenosis, reflux, stridor, torticollis or napping or sleeping difficulty. Still other babies are saddled with clubfoot or misalignment in their bodies and eyes, the latter manifesting as strabismus. These health conditions have seemingly plagued humanity since the beginning of time, and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy can be effective in correcting all of them.

Fussiness in Babies Is Caused by Tightness in Their Bodies and Lack of a Freely Moving Brain and Spinal Cord

The root cause of all these health conditions and for fussiness in babies is tightness in their bodies. This tightness is located in their fascia, which is the connective-tissue web that extends from head to toe and finger to finger, applying tremendous pressure to the nerves, muscles, organs and bones. The fascia must be free for the body to function optimally. Additionally, nine out of 10 babies are not born with a brain that slowly expands and contracts well, or “breathes,” as it naturally should because the fascia, or dura, in this part of the body, is tight, restricting motion. This is a phenomenon I describe as a zero-second brain cycle. Babies whose brains expand for 100 seconds and contract for 100 seconds register a 200-second brain cycle, which I believe is a goal for good cognitive function. A freely moving brain, spinal cord and fascial web are all critical to optimal health.

Two experiences in the earliest periods of their lives can prevent babies from enjoying sound health. Most babies are affected by fetal trauma and birth trauma. In exploring fetal trauma, babies can experience being trapped such as behind their mothers’ rib cages, creating restrictive fascial strain patterns in their bodies. Some babies experience trouble with their umbilical cord, with it getting wrapped around their throats or bodies, also creating pressure and fascial strain. Beyond fetal trauma, babies, too, experience birth trauma. Long, difficult deliveries can create strain throughout a baby’s body. If vacuum suction or forceps are used to pull on a baby’s head, strain can result in not only the head but in the neck and other areas of the body. Delivery by cesarean section, or C-section, can present strain patterns as well. So can any kind of surgery done in the first few days of life such as for lip tie and tongue tie.

Why is my baby so fussy - baby sleeping peacefully - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy - Fruit-Powered
A baby sleeps peacefully. Dr. Barry Gillespie has helped babies sleep peacefully and feel healthy and happy by releasing craniosacral fascial strain originating in utero and/or during the birthing process.

The Baby Brain Score Can Identify Newborns Who Would Benefit from Craniosacral Fascial Strain Release

Many might look at babies as pure, pristine and innocent, but the truth is, they’ve already lived through two very challenging time periods: in their mothers’ wombs and the birthing process. To enjoy optimal health from their first day onward, babies would benefit from receiving what I call the Baby Brain Score. The Baby Brain Score tests, during the first few minutes of life, how well a newborn’s neonatal nervous system is functioning.

With colleagues who studied and worked with hundreds of newborns, I created the Baby Brain Score after determining that the Apgar Score, which checks critical vital signs at birth, doesn’t address the nervous system completely. Babies who register suboptimal scores would then immediately receive their first of however many Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy treatments are necessary to ensure they have a freely moving brain, spinal cord and fascial web. During this treatment, infants drive the movement, with a Gillespie Approach-trained practitioner merely helping facilitate babies’ natural inclination to stretch and twist their once-cramped bodies in releasing craniosacral fascial strain to loosen their little bodies. This is referred to as my and my colleague’s Infant-Driven Movement, which calls for no manipulation of newborns. Just as with Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, Infant-Driven Movement is gentle, noninvasive and drug-free.

Dr. Barry Gillespie’s Quest to Correct Headaches Leads to Discovery and Merging of Craniosacral and Myofascial Therapies

My story tells more about why the Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy hold tremendous value for all newborns. While suffering from headaches in the mid-1970s, I searched the medical establishment but came up with no answers. When I discovered osteopathic craniosacral work, I found a partial solution.

Later, John Barnes, P.T., taught me that the fascia was the missing link. If a patient had an unrestricted fascial system, craniosacral therapy could be much more effective. But if the fascia was severely restricted, craniosacral therapy produced very limited results. This finding helped me link the craniosacral mechanism and fascial web into the craniosacral fascial system. It also explained why patients with so many incurable structural conditions showed improvement or complete correction.

I went on to develop a new therapy called Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, which enables a practitioner to help free up this entire system. While working with children in 1980, I discovered that pediatric diseases such as asthma, earaches, scoliosis, learning disorders and ADHD were based on the function of the craniosacral fascial system. As their bodies normalized function with Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, their diseases, for the most part, faded away.

Why is my baby so fussy - baby laughing - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy
Craniosacral fascial strain may manifest as colic, constipation, gas, indigestion, pyloric stenosis, reflux, stridor, torticollis, napping or sleeping difficulty, breastfeeding or nursing difficulty, or many other health conditions, any of which may lead to fussy babies. When babies are free of craniosacral fascial strain, they have the best opportunity to be happy and healthy.

I also treated my first infant, my secretary’s baby, in 1980. A whole new world opened up for me in the 1980s and 1990s, when I noticed that, after working on a baby, I almost always never saw him or her again. Their parents would tell me that, other than being stricken with a few colds, the child experienced exceptional health and performed well in school. A Quietmind Foundation study revealed that Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy may result in brain function optimization.

Some parents have brought their children to me after suffering head injuries. I’ve found that many of these children experience a phenomenon I call structural immunity. What this means is that children who’ve already received Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy treatments at birth usually demonstrate greater resiliency in healing compared with children who’ve never had treatment.

Fetal and Birth Traumas Create Craniosacral Fascial Strain, Manifesting in Many Mental and Physical Health Conditions

During my career, I’ve learned that fetal and birth traumas create craniosacral fascial strain and that this strain can be the root of many mental and physical health conditions. If Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy could be conducted at birth, I reasoned many years ago, then many of these conditions could possibly be prevented. This realization propelled me to work with as many babies as possible and train others to practice the Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy. This article details this work.

Along the way, I’ve reflected on my own health. I had always been a sick kid, with colds, sore throats, allergies, eyeglasses and the like. I came to understand that the seeds of my childhood diseases were sown in my fetal and birth traumas. If I had received the Baby Brain Score test and, if required, craniosacral fascial therapy upon my birth, in 1947, I believe that my life would have turned out much differently. I viewed the critical importance of every newborn on the planet reaping the benefits of what I and almost everyone missed to avoid a lifetime of suffering.

Dr. Barry Gillespie and Colleagues Work with Newborns Worldwide, Helping Fussy Babies Become Healthy and Happy Babies

This theory had to be put to the test. My colleagues and I worked with hundreds of newborns from the Amish and Mennonite communities of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. To determine whether an infant needed Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, we developed the Baby Brain Score over a two-year period. We spent years developing the best Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy techniques for newborns. Our outstanding clinical results, from our 2007–2012 study, can be read in this research paper.

Why is my baby so fussy - mother and baby laughing - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy - Fruit-Powered
Happy and healthy babies generally make for happy and rested mothers. These positive effects can transform any household. Over the course of a 40-plus-year career, Dr. Barry Gillespie has answered the age-old question “Why is my baby so fussy?” on his way to earning the nickname Dr. Loose for loosening up tight babies, freeing them from strain and optimizing their cognitive function.

The Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy worked well in Pennsylvania, but for scientific proof, we needed results in another culture on a global scale. I traveled to Culiacan, Mexico, with colleagues Christine Holefelder, Kristen Myers and Mike Myers to teach Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy to 16 medical professionals. All 64 babies these student doctors evaluated and treated responded wonderfully to the Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy.

Later, our work was received well among babies in Canada and in different areas of the United States. By now, we had worked on 800 North American infants. Students then brought the Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy to Europe and Africa, with both producing great results. We determined that traumatized newborns and infants needing structural correction was an international phenomenon.

My students and colleagues at The Family Hope Center, a world-renowned clinic for brain-injured children in Norristown, Pennsylvania, discovered that, if infants received Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, they reached neurological developmental milestones about 30 percent sooner than the average child. We found that Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy was a key piece of the health puzzle for every special-needs child. Quite simply, everyone’s brain has to “breathe.”

Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy Can Help Promote Structural Immunity and Optimal Cognitive Function

When babies who receive Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy are given enough love, good nutrition and exercise, I believe the sky is the only limit for these children. Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy can turn a fussy baby into a happy and content baby, resulting in a happy, rested and relaxed mother, father and siblings. This therapy can also result in structural immunity later, helping toddlers bounce back easily from physical trauma. It can prevent diseases such as allergies, anxiety, asthma, ADHD, headaches, learning disorders, sinus conditions and other health challenges. Finally, it can improve neurological function, raising babies’ and children’s level of focus along with memory and other cognitive functions. When all these benefits are added up, I believe Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy can help position children the world over to experience the best in life.

Neonatal intensive care units, commonly called NICUs, are the perfect places for the Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy to shine. I believe the medical community will discover that this therapy can calm infants, helping them recover more quickly. This therapy may also prevent the onset of the life-threatening NICU diseases necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

Why is my baby so fussy - girl doing homework - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy - Fruit-Powered
Many babies and children who receive Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy experience structural immunity and perform well in school, parents have reported to Dr. Barry Gillespie. Explore Dr. Barry Gillespie’s work on babies, children and adults by 500-plus health conditions and anatomy.

Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy Can Help Mothers-to-Be Enjoy a Smoother Pregnancy and Benefit Their Babies

I also envision mothers-to-be receiving Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy before conception to ensure better hormonal function, less pregnancy strain, an easier birth and better overall health for the newborn. I believe providing Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy to mothers-to-be and newborns can help promote happiness, health and peace on our wonderful planet.

In summary, I believe the Baby Brain Score and Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy can result in:

  • Healthier babies, by decreasing the incidence of at least 18 health conditions by 80 percent or more.
  • Smarter babies, by optimizing the function of the brain and spinal cord in the central nervous system.
  • Stronger babies, by creating structural immunity, which will keep active, growing children healthier and more resilient.
  • Happier babies, by redefining the global standard of care for newborns.

I’m blessed to share that parents throughout Greater Philadelphia and across the United States and world have brought their babies to my King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, office over the past three decades. I’ve been nicknamed “Dr. Loose” for helping loosen up babies, freeing them from craniosacral fascial strain. At 72, most men and women my age have been retired for several years. I’ll rest when every one of the world’s 130-million-plus babies have the Baby Brain Score and, if required, Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy at birth. One day soon, this will happen.


About the author

Barry Gillespie

Barry Gillespie

Dr. Barry Gillespie founded Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy. This gentle therapy provides patients with a freely moving brain, spinal cord and fascial web, all of which are key to optimal health. Dr. Barry Gillespie also created the Baby Brain Score and discovered therapeutic techniques for newborns and infants.

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