Health & Medical Parenting

Five Step Baby Massage to Ease Constipation and Colic

Massaging is an ancient method of relaxation and stimulation.
Massaging your baby can have many benefits that all stem from the wonders of touch.
It may help with numerous problems, both physical and emotional.
Massaging your baby can help to build the non-verbal relationship between you plus ease his constipation.
It may also help to make him more calm and relaxed, so that if they're struggling with constipation they may be soothed a little.
Studies have also shown that massage assists to promote your baby's development.
It provides important skin stimulation, boosts circulation, develop the nervous system, helps to stimulate his brain with new experiences and also understand movement and social behavior.
In addition to easing constipation and wind, massage will help to soothe a stuffy chest, calm a baby and also relax you! When you massage the skin releases the hormones oxytocin and prolactin.
These hormones can help to lower the amounts of stress hormones inside you and help combat stress.
So, now you have read about the positive aspects, let's begin! We are going to tailor this massage to constipated babies, although I'll put a few other techniques that help to relax baby.
Step One Lie baby down flat on the floor or comfortable surface, on a blanket or mat.
Make sure the room you are massaging in is warm enough for the little one to be naked.
The reason we want baby naked is that hopefully this massage will bring on a bowel movement.
Baby may feel more relaxed and comfortable to go if he's not wearing a nappy.
In this case, make sure that you place a disposable changing sheet or paper towels underneath him in the event that he does poo! Use a baby massage oil, you can purchase aromatherapy baby oils online like this 'Burts Bees' oil which I highly recommend as it smells gorgeous and has added vitamins (much nicer than using olive or sunflower oil, although those are OK too).
Then make eye contact with your baby to make them aware and non-verbally ask if it is OK for you to massage them.
You can also ask them out loud 'Is it OK to massage you today?' so that they get used to this sentence and associate it with the massage that's coming.
Rub a small amount of baby oil in between your palms (the size of a ten pence piece to begin with) and warm up your hands before you touch baby.
Show him what you're doing so he starts to associates the sounds, smells and sights with massage.
Step Two Paddling: Use a firm but gentle pressure.
Start on the baby tummy, slightly below the ribcage, and where his intestines will be.
Make sure that you are in this (very small) area and not on the rib cage or chest.
Use the palms of your hands and move in a paddling motion over the top of one another towards his privates.
You want to do 6-8 repetitions of both hands (right and left).
You can count out loud so that baby gets used to hearing numbers, there is a degree of interaction and you are also speaking in a relaxed tone of voice, helping them to associate massage with calmness.
Then lay both of your hands onto one another across his belly calmly.
Step Three Clockwise: Look at baby, make eye contact and be sure they're ok.
Now move your hands successively in a circular motion around the belly.
This should be done in a CLOCKWISE motion, and this is clockwise from your point of view, not baby's (imagine a clock on their tummy).
The reason being, this is actually the direction that the large intestine moves in.
If you go anti clockwise you may do more damage because you are going against the natural direction of the body and this will not help constipated babies.
Use more of the lengths of your fingers and fingertips for this technique.
You can begin with just your right hand a few times, after which incorporate the left hand so that both hands work together doing a wheeling motion.
When both hands make a full circle, that's one stroke.
Again, you can do it for 6-8 times but if they're enjoying it then feel free to continue! Once you've finished this stroke, again rest our hand on top of the other on baby's tummy.
Step Four I Love You: When facing baby, on his left hand side (when you're looking at him this will be on your right) trace with the fingertips an 'I' downwards on his belly.
Then we move to the 'L' which will start on the baby's right side (your left) of the belly, and move across and down, in a sideways L motion.
Your left to right and down.
Again you can be firm but don't push too hard.
Then we do the 'U' starting on your left and moving to right.
Although it's a U, it'll actually be an upside down U! So move from your bottom left, up across the middle and around to the bottom right in a semi circle motion.
You can do another 6-8 repetitions of this stroke.
You could say ' I..
You' out loud when using the strokes.
Hopefully this will release some gas or perhaps cause a bowel movement! Rest your hands back on the stomach at the end.
Step Five Knee Bends: Slide your warm hands down baby legs to the ankles.
Hold them firmly but don't grip too hard or put any pressure on the joints.
Very slowly bend baby's knees and fold them into their tummy by using a slight pressure.
If baby's legs feel stiff or tight then don't try this step.
However, if it feels gentle and they're enjoying it then give it a go.
Once you have folded their knees into the tummy then hold for 6-10 seconds.
Whilst doing this keep eye contact and make use of this time to talk to your baby in a soothing voice.
Hopefully this can release some trapped air.
After 6-10 second replace the legs back down slowly, shaking them gently whilst you do this.
You can then begin to slowly bicycle the legs.
You need the knees to gently touch the tummy area.
You can do as many of these as your baby is comfortable with.
When finished, again gently shake out the baby's legs and end with some long strokes from the stomach down to the ankles.
You can do baby massage as frequently as daily, and long-term it may relieve constipation and colic tremendously.
Let me know how you get on!

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