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Next in our series with Osteopath & Naturopath, Christian Bates, we learn about the 'Little Meerkat' Baby BirthType which is almost the opposite baby of our previous blog, 'The Little Frog' (read that here). 

A Little Meerkat baby…

  • Hates laying on their back
  • Had a long delivery
  • Had an instruments delivery
  • Was “laying low” or engaged in your pelvis during pregnancy
  • Hates the car seat
  • Has to be held all the time
  • Very hard to breastfeed, pulls off, very sucky / snacky

Does that sound familiar?

What I will describe below is the “pattern” that a baby will put itself naturally in and it tells a story of how they were born.



The “Little Meerkat Baby BirthType” baby is a pattern that is frequently described to me by parents and is very easy to spot when a parent is holding their baby. As with all my Baby BirthTypes they are actually names that I hear parents call their babies, so thank you to the parents that coined Little Meerkat for me.

However, most parents instead of calling their baby a Meerkat will say they have noticed that their baby “has a very strong neck”. Even midwives in the hospital often comment “Doesn’t your baby have a strong neck”, this could be just minutes after the delivery. 

A new baby in reality probably shouldn’t have a “strong” neck. It really should be nice and loose and quite relaxed and requires some support from you when holding them. This is totally normal.

What a baby’s “strong neck” is in my opinion is them being held in the pattern of how they were at the time of birth. This is usually being stuck whilst having contractions on them. Often leading to forceps or ventouse being used. Some babies I see have been stuck with slow progression for days. Is it surprising they stay in that pattern for a while once they are born?

If you are thinking that you actually had a fast delivery yet your baby has a strong neck then it could also be caused by a baby “laying low” in your pelvis and being engaged for a long time in the last trimester. Again, the baby will be held in this position with their neck arched backwards, they are just staying in that position after they are born. Often these babies actually have a fast delivery as they are a second or third baby which is why they are engaging easily.

Sometimes Little Meerkat babies can arch back so strongly they almost throw themselves out of your arms. Osteopaths would call this an “extension patten”, but I think “Little Meerkat” is cuter for a baby.

These babies when held up on your shoulder will be really rigid. They often don’t like to sit and will push their legs down as if they want to stand up. Since when would a newborn be able to stand!

When you hold them across your arms on their back their head will tilt back a long way as they find this comfortable. Babies tend to move INTO the patterns I am describing. They will find the patterns as a place of comfort. This is how the body works. We put ourselves in the place of comfort even though that place might not be the natural, neutral or relaxed position. 

I have noticed in my clinic that backwards arching babies more often seem to have reflux, silent reflux or bring up their milk excessively, although this is not exclusive to these babies. The reason being that this tightness in the spine in-between the shoulder blades is associated with the area through which milk passes into the stomach. When the baby arches back strongly the milk gets forced back up and out, so it’s a mechanical reflux. Not necessarily a cows milk protein type allergy.


Some babies arch so much when you put them on their back they are almost upside down! Picture their tummy full of food and then them being upside down, the milk will just come out of their tummy and out their mouth.

Meerkat babies prefer to lay on their front to go to sleep. This is a big issue for parents as current advice is to not let your baby go to sleep like this. They like laying on their front as it shapes them into this extension / arching position which they find comfortable. Older children will sleep on their front with their bottom in the air and knees up under themselves. Babies may also like laying across your knees on their tummy or along your arms in what’s called the Lion’s Pose and they can be so stiff they look like a superhero holding their head up.


Breastfeeding difficulties with the Little Meerkat Baby Birth Type

Breastfeeding difficulties for these babies is a major factor. I actually think it can be one of the main causes of tricky breastfeeding and even mums completely giving up because the feeding is so stressful and painful.

Because a Little Meerkat Baby is arching so much they cannot get comfortable at the breast. You would have to have them in a really strange position, with their head facing you and body going away from you at a really steep angle. This is not how you are told to breastfeed and the close belly to belly contact that is taught will be uncomfortable for them. I’m not saying this is advice wrong, I’m saying these babies can’t feed from this position as their head will be turning away from you. On top of this they will be throwing themselves and arching away from the breast, making you think their latch is bad. 

If this sounds all too familiar, cranial osteopathy might help you. We can work to release tensions the babies have from birth.

Thank you Christian, utterly fascinating! You can find videos about the Baby BirthTypes, more baby help and Christian's ebook on his website and his instagram


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