November 29, 2023

How Baby Massage Can Help Ease Symptoms of Colic


By Naomi Saunders

Mum of two, teacher and Baby Masseuse. Following a difficult experience feeding her second baby, Naomi has become an advocate of Combination Feeding and works with MAM to raise awareness of parents right to choose their own path when it comes to feeding.

Babies Cry… Fact!

However, whilst all babies cry (especially in those early days when crying is their only means of communication), there can be a point where that the crying becomes excessive. This is when you will often hear the word “colic” banded about.

So what is colic?

Colic is a common condition which effects 1 in 5 infants during their first few months. The cause of colic is unknown, but symptoms suggest a gut sensitivity which can include abdominal pain, trapped wind and indigestion. Some signs your baby might be suffering from colic are lots of crying with no obvious cause, clenching fists, red in the face, bringing up their knees and arching their back.

How can Baby Massage help to ease colic?

One of the most common reasons parents visit baby massage classes is because of digestive complaints. Massaging your baby’s stomach with gentle strokes helps to move the milk and any wind around the intricate intestines, improving constipation and painful cramps.

Baby massage can also have a calming effect on both a baby and a mum suffering with the symptoms of colic, the rhythmic motions will help to soothe your baby and help you to feel more relaxed.

Baby massage is safe from any age, some parents prefer to wait until their baby is 6 weeks old, when they are in more of a routine and their behaviour is more predictable.

How to start massaging your baby at home

  • Your baby must be happy, healthy and fed (no sooner than 45 mins after a feed)
  • Never massage your baby when they have a fever or within 48 hours of injections
  • Always massage on floor level using a baby massage mat or soft surface
  • Always make sure you have clean hands, short nails and no jewellery

TIP: test a small amount of your chosen oil on your baby’s skin prior to the massage and wait 30 minutes to see if there is a reaction (rash/redness).

Never rush or force the massage, if you feel stressed or tense take a break and come back to the massage later.

  • Put a little oil on and rub your hands together, allow your baby to watch you do this and talk to them about the massage. Enjoy eye contact and watch for their response. 
  • Gently place your hands on the top of your baby’s head or shoulders and ask them if they are ready for a massage. This offers respect and encourages your baby to communicate their needs.
Baby Massage for relieving colic

4 Massage Moves That Can Help With Colic:

1. Round The Clock

Moving in a clockwise direction, give your baby slow and gentle tummy strokes.

Following in a clockwise direction means you are following the intestine

  • Relaxes the abdomen

2. Windy Waves

Slide across the tummy with the heel of your hand and pull back gently with fingers, your left to your right.

  • Helps with symptoms of colic

3. The Chase

Walking fingers across the tummy from your left to your right chase the wind. Feather back with fingertips.

  • Helps reduce trapped wind

4. I Love U

Stroke with 2 or 3 fingers of your right-hand down baby’s left side (I)

Draw an upside down “L” starting on baby’s right

And upside-down “U” from baby’s right to left side.

Saying ‘I Love U’ as you do the movements

  • Helps with symptoms of colic and constipation
how baby massage can help relieve symptoms ofcolic

For more advice from fellow parents why not join the MAM Parenting Support Group on Facebook

Advice Parenting
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