Colic is associated with a build-up of trapped wind in your baby's bowel, causing pain and abdominal discomfort. It's a harmless condition, usually resolved by the time a baby is four months old. However, it can occur from three weeks old, and can cause babies to cry for more than three hours a day for more than three days a week! Our expert midwife and infant health expert, Nikki Khan, shares her tips for massaging the pain away
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1) Round the clock massage technique - This entails gentle massage for about 10-15 seconds in each quadrant of the abdomen, in a clockwise direction, and should be repeated about three times.
2) Bicycling - This technique can help stimulate the release of the trapped gas. While the baby is lying on her back, each knee is alternatively taken up to the abdomen. This can be repeated about three times. If necessary try it again gently bringing alternate knees to the opposite side of the abdomen.
3) The ‘I Love U’ massage technique is named as such because the massage movements are like the letters ‘I, L and U’. It should be repeated three times:
- Begin by starting under the ribs on ‘your’ right side and making a stroke down for the letter ‘I’
- Next, start under the ribs on ‘your’ left side, stroke across and then down to form an upside-down letter ‘L’
- The ‘U’ is also upside down. Start on the lower abdomen to your left, moving up under the ribs and over, and then down the right side again, always in a clockwise direction. This massage technique can be repeated several times.
4) Scooping the sand – This method entails a downward motion on the tummy starting from under the ribs towards the lower abdomen. This action should be repeated three times.
5) 'Tiger in the tree' or the ‘lazy lion’ hold can help greatly with colic:
- Support your baby by lying him along one of your arms facing downwards, with his head by your elbow.
- Your arm should support his weight, while your hand is holding the top of a leg firmly.
- Rest your free hand on his back for extra support, or gently massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction to help alleviate colic discomfort. It really works.
From around six to eight weeks, your baby will start to develop head control. When this occurs you can lay your baby on her tummy and she will try to lift her head and shoulders.
This position helps to stretch her abdominal cavity and aids digestion. It can prevent colic, reflux and constipation, but should not be performed immediately after a feed. Remember ‘belly time’ during a massage is important as it can also assist with crawling later!