Massage the Gas out of your Baby
Massage Therapy is known for its benefits to decrease stress and treat injuries, but did you know it has been used for centuries to aid in digestive problems? The colic and gas routine taught to new parents can be a life saver when their baby is in pain and has been crying for hours. Not only do the techniques help with gas in babies, but they can also be used on young children and adults with constipation and other stress related intestinal disorders. Investing your time into learning these techniques will help you at every stage of your child’s life.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you soothe your baby’s painful or bloated tummy:
• Find a warm room to do the massage, and a soft surface to lay your baby on.
• Use an edible or organic oil on your baby’s skin because baby’s tend to put their little hands and feet in their mouths. Avoid nut oils and always test oil/cream on a small patch of skin before using.
• Keep your baby in his diaper, and start by laying him on his back, facing you.
Step 1: Ask for permission to start the massage. This is the only time you will massage your child when he is uncomfortable. These techniques will relieve pain, not cause it.
Step 2: Start by spreading the oil/cream with both hands with a long stroke from your baby’s chest and down towards his legs and feet.
Tip: When your baby is in pain, use the indirect techniques (i.e. leg pumping) first to help let out gas.
Step 3: Bring his knees together and into his stomach. Draw a circle with his knees in a clockwise direction applying pressure on his abdomen during the upper circle and releasing pressure on the downward circle.
Tip: When he pushes his legs straight and tenses up, place your hands under his bum, bend his knees and slowly rock his hips from side to side. This will likely relax him, and allow you to preform the technique without being forceful.
Step 4: Just below his belly button, use one hand at a time to firmly scoop your hand towards you. Each hand should wipe down the belly and slowly sing the words “water wheel” (once per hand) to ensure your speed is slow.
Step 5: Picture a box around his belly button, This will be two centimetres on all sides away from his belly button. This is the area you have to safely do your massage techniques on his stomach.
Step 6: Draw a circle with your fingertips in the imaginary box around your baby’s belly button in a clockwise direction.
Step 7: Continue the full circle stroke with one hand while the other follows behind it to do a half circle. This technique is called “sun moon.” Sing the words “full moon, half circle” while doing this technique. Preform in a clockwise direction.
Step 8: Lastly, is the “I Love U” technique. Using your fingertips, draw along the imaginary box. First, in a downward motion on your baby’s upper left side draw the “I” from top to bottom. Then draw the upside down “L” starting on your baby’s upper right corner of the box moving to the across to the left and pulling downwards along the “I” again. Lastly, draw the upside down “U” starting at your baby’s bottom right corner of the box, moving upwards to meet the “L” and across to meet the “I” and downwards to finish.
Step 9: Taking both legs into your hands, slowly move his legs as if he was riding a bicycle. One leg at a time, hold for five seconds before moving the next leg applying pressure into his lower abdomen with his leg.
Step 10: Place your hand firmly on your baby’s stomach, this is called “touch relaxation” and you will use this to connect your breathing with your child and send feelings of love to him. This is also a great time to feel for ‘bubbles’ or gas in the intestines. Perform each step four to six times and repeat all steps at least twice a day for two weeks.
Remember to always do your massage techniques in a clockwise direction — this is the flow that the intestine eliminates waste.
Consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis if you think your baby is suffering from gas or colic, and look for a Registered Massage Therapist to give you some extra help when applying these techniques.
Nicole Nifo is a Registered Massage Therapist, Infant Massage Teacher, Certified Paediatric Massage Therapist and Birth Doula. To find out more info visit: www.FullyAliveCentre.com