Struggling with a colicky baby? Your touch can help soothe him, Mommy. Learn about tummy massage for colic and constipation here.
What can you read in this article?
- Do’s and don’ts of baby massage
- How to relieve constipation in babies quickly
- Baby tummy massage – baby massage for gas and constipation
As first-time parents, we have been told that our babies are very fragile that one wrong move or touch we make may injure them. But later on, we will realize that our infants are built much stronger than we think and that if anything, our touch has the power to soothe them and make them feel better.
I consider myself very cautious and traditional as a parent, that I never dared to try anything that I would think might harm my child. For instance, baby massage. I, for one, loved getting massages. But to do that with a tiny infant? I wasn’t on board with it. Until I had a colicky baby.
While looking for a cure to soothe his colic and episodes of constipation, I came across different home remedies for baby constipation and natural ways on how to make baby poop instantly, and a lot of moms recommended baby tummy massage.
The benefits of infant massage
According to TAP mom and pediatrician Dr. Gellina Suderio-Maala or Doc Gel, infant massage is a way for us to nurture our babies for their development while also spending time and bonding with them.
In our recently concluded virtual Baby Bash, Doc Gel enumerated some of the benefits that your baby can get from an infant massage:
- It encourages interaction between you and your baby
- It relaxes your baby to help them sleep
- Positively affects infant hormones
- It helps reduce crying
- It allows your baby to be introduced to learning motor skills
Baby massage for colic and constipation
According to Doc Gel, baby massage can also help in treating colic and constipation in your baby.
“There are times when we can’t help it, our babies get colic. One thing we can do is give him a massage to help relieve the air or the gas in his tummy,” she expressed in Filipino.
But before we go into that, let’s discuss the several causes and symptoms of colic and constipation in babies.
Causes and symptoms of colic and constipation in babies
There are many causes of colic, but the most common of them include stomach gas, due to poor burping or milk flow issues; and intestinal gas (pocketed in the intestinal tract).
This causes the baby to feel a great deal of discomfort. And results in babies with sudden, severe, unexplained crying lasting less than three hours a day.
At the final stages of colic that has worsened for a few weeks, babies cry and fuss for more than three hours a day, more than three days a week, for more than three weeks.
For the parent, persistent infant crying is exhausting. It can trigger relationship stress and even breastfeeding failure.
Meanwhile, when it comes to a baby’s bowel movements, lookout for the signs of constipation. These include a hard belly; crying before a poo; dry, hard pellet-like poo; fewer than three bowel movements a week. Constipation is a pain and your baby will feel the effects of tough bowel movements.
Does your baby have colic? Here are 7 things to look out for
Madalas na pag-iyak ng baby, maaaring sanhi ng colic
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How to do the baby massage for gas and constipation
There are different ways on how to calm a colicky baby such as making sure they burp after feeding, carrying them in an upright position, or distracting them.
Meanwhile, baby constipation home remedies are also available such as giving baby lots of fluids (water is only for 6 months up) or a warm bath.
But when looking for a way to relieve constipation quickly and to soothe a colicky baby, a tummy massage always comes up in any expert’s list.
As mentioned earlier, a simple baby massage for colic and constipation can do wonders. It can certainly relieve stomach gas and/or aid the movement of hard poo along the intestine.
Do you need an expert to do the baby tummy massage for constipation and colic? Certainly not. You just have to follow these safe and easy steps:
- Place the baby in a lying down position, with his body facing you.
- Think of his stomach as a clock face with the 12 o’clock position at the top of his stomach, 6 o’clock towards the groin, and 3 and 9 at the sides.
- Lean in, use your fingertips, and gently circle the baby’s head. Maintain eye contact and look for signs and signals that the baby is happy and you can proceed with the massage.
- Take a little bit of baby oil and place an amount the size of a small coin in your palm. Rub your hands together with the oil to create heat especially around the fingertips.
- Place your right hand across the baby’s stomach and gently smooth the hand down towards the groin before lifting the hand clearly. Repeat the motion with your other hand until you get a ‘water wheel’ motion. This establishes first contact and helps apply the oil.
- Next, place your thumbs together on the center of the baby’s stomach and slide your hands towards the waist. Keep your actions firm but gentle.
- Start with the ‘sun motion’. With your left hand, find the 7 o’clock position with the flat of your palm and rub in a circle around the stomach, ending back at 7 o’clock.
- Move on to the ‘crescent moon motion’. With your right hand, start at 12 o’clock and move around the stomach, ending at 6 o’clock.
- The trick now is to combine both the ‘sun and crescent moon motions’. With your left hand do the sun motion, while your right-hand does the moon simultaneously.
- To specifically relax the stomach in cases of colic, hold your baby’s ankles and gently bounce.
- Next, gently press the knees towards the stomach and hold for counts of five. Repeat several times.
- At the end, place both palms on the baby’s stomach for a few moments. End with a cuddle.
Do the massage right and it would not only alleviate the pains of colic and diarrhea, but it would also create a special time for you and your baby to bond in an intimate environment of love and care.
Here’s a helpful tutorial video to guide you through the process:
Things to remember when doing infant massage
When to start infant massage?
Doc Gel said that within one to three months, we can already start giving our babies light massages for them to be comfortable and familiar with our touch. Never try giving your newborn a massage because their skin is still very sensitive.
When to do the baby tummy massage?
According to Doc Gel, there’s no hard and fast rule as to when we can do the infant massage. You can opt to do it after giving the baby a warm bath or while you’re propping him on his bed to sleep.
You can also do it when you feel that your child has colic, but as much as possible, try to calm the baby first then you can lay him flat on his bed to start the massage.
Do’s and don’ts in doing baby massage:
- More than anything else, the pediatrician also reminded parents to, “Create a calm environment for you and your child.” You can dim the lights, but make sure you can still see your baby safely. You can also play soothing music to add to the relaxing ambiance.
- Finally, as we’re dealing with babies here, keep in mind to do it gently.
“Gentle and slow strokes and kneads lang. Don’t press too hard, to make sure they’re comfortable and that it’s not painful for them,” said Doc Gel.
- To help in their development, talk to your baby and maintain eye contact while doing the massage.
- Don’t massage your baby right after feeding. The pediatrician advised waiting for at least 30 to 45 minutes to prevent them from throwing up or getting aspirated.
- Don’t massage your baby when you are preoccupied or stressed. “As much as possible, do it when you’re calm, and when you’re not tired. You can rest first before you do the massage time with your baby,” said Doc Gel.
- Don’t use your phone and get distracted when you’re giving your baby a massage.
- As much as possible, shy away from using aceite de manzanilla for massage, as it may have a negative reaction to your infant’s skin. Try using baby oil or food-grade oils instead.
If you have any questions about the proper way to do the baby tummy massage for constipation or colic, don’t hesitate to consult your child’s pediatrician about it.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore
Updates by Camille Eusebio
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