Welcome to part six of my baby massage blog series where I share – How baby massage can help with tummy troubles.
Babies can suffer several kinds of tummy issues such as colic, wind and constipation, and baby massage is a wonderful aid to help ease. Massage helps both by stimulating nervous system development and by physically helping to move things through their gut.
Colic can be especially distressing for you both. If your baby is colicky their abdomen may be distended and they may have difficulty in tolerating touch in that area. Avoid massaging when your baby is in the throes of a colic episode and choose a time earlier in the day when they are more receptive. Massaging on a daily or twice daily basis will help with the maturation of the nervous system and assist in bringing them through this phase more quickly.
If your baby is constipated or windy, massage can give a helping hand to get things moving. Don’t be afraid to use a little pressure – if your strokes are too light you will only be working on the surface on the skin and won’t have the desired effect. Just make sure you stay below the ribcage or work from the tummy button down if you’re not sure where their ribs finish. Try to massage at least once and preferably twice a day for best results – regularity is key for regularity. Massaging at nappy change time can work well as you will have better access to the whole of their abdominal area with the nappy undone and you’re in the right place if there is any movement!
Before you begin, read my How to get ready for massage post. It is especially important to make sure your hands are nice and warm. Cold hands on the tummy will be startling for your baby and may make them tense which is opposite to the effect you want. Once you have warmed some oil in your hands, rest one hand gently on your baby’s abdomen with your fingers pointing to one side and wait for your baby to relax. Starting at the tummy button stroke over your baby’s abdomen towards yourself using the palms of your hand, one after the other. Then supporting at their calves, gently push their legs up towards their tummy holding for a few seconds. Finish by gently stretching out and bouncing their legs to relax.
In part seven find out …… How baby massage can help relieve your baby’s cold symptoms.
To learn a full baby massage routine, along with how to adapt the strokes as your baby grows, visit IAIM to find a class near you.
Jayne Russell has over twenty years of experience as a pre’ and postnatal massage and nutritional therapist and is the founder of Nom Nom – award winning, certified organic pregnancy and baby skincare. Sign up for your free skincare guide “10 Steps to Super Healthy Baby Skin” at nomnomskincare.com