Our wonderful Polly of Bath Baby Massage explains how massage can help babies with colic. One of the Kids of Bath children had terrible colic as a newborn and we really wish we’d known about these amazing massage techniques then! All our strength goes out to any mums or dads in the throes of this. It does get better!
At the start of my baby massage courses I ask the mums what they want to get out of the course and one question that always comes up is if baby massage can help their babies with colic symptoms.
The good news is, yes! But how?
As we know babies cry for various reasons whether it be hunger, cold, tiredness, heat, or because their nappy needs changing. However, a baby may cry even after being well fed, cleaned and snuggly wrapped up – if a baby has repeated episodes of inconsolable crying but appears to be healthy and well then they may have colic. ‘Colic’ is the name given to a cluster of symptoms that can appear usually a few weeks after birth and can carry on until the baby is about three to four months old. These symptoms can include some of the following;
Intense crying – where your baby cries intensely and furiously, and there is not much you as the parent can do to comfort them. Their face will become red and flushed and the crying episodes tend to occur at the same time every day – generally during the late afternoon or evening and episodes may last from a few minutes to much longer periods.
Baby’s posture – their fists may be clenched, tensed abdominal muscles, knees drawn up, and the back arched. They have severe pain in the abdomen which is caused by wind or obstruction in the intestines.
Sleeping – sleep may be irregular and interrupted with episodes of crying.
Feeding – feeding may also be interrupted and irregular with episodes of intense crying. However, the amount the baby eats each day is not reduced.
Wind – during episodes of intense crying the baby may pass wind.
So how can massage help make these symptoms ease or completely disappear? As I mention above babies show physical actions such as clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles as well as knees drawn up and the back arched, which all indicate they may have trapped wind and severe abdomen pain which in turn causes crying and sleep issues.
I teach a very specific massage routine for colic which has been created by The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) and focuses on the stomach and legs. This routine has been recognised by the medical industry and many midwives and health workers use the same routine as it really has positive results. The routine combines gentle movements & massage movements on the legs and stomach. The gentle movements help to move and disperse trapped air and wind in the stomach, and also encourages the intestine to work which can activate bowel movement (ask any mum who’s done my course and they will tell you there is always baby bowel movement in the class!). The gentle movements are combined with specific massage movements also on the stomach, which are always done in a clockwise direction to follow the intestines exit direction. Again the stomach massage encourages wind and air to pass out and also can help with constipation and bowel movement. Just by touching and having skin-to-skin contact with your colicky baby can calm them as being in contact with your warm, naturally scented skin is not only heaven for your baby, but it helps to stabilise their body temperature, heart rate and stress hormones and stimulates the release of oxytocin – the love and bonding hormone in you both.
I can’t recommend baby massage enough for colic symptoms. If you are interested in knowing more, or would like to try out a class then please do get in touch with me to chat further. And please read some of the feedback from mums here who have attended my courses.
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