Baby massage to help constipation & colic

Massages aren’t just about relaxation, baby massage can also be incredibly helpful in relieving gas, constipation and colic. It’s very common for babies to have some mild issues with their digestion. Because of the discomfort and sometimes pain that they feel, babies can get very tense and cry as a way to express something is wrong. Here’s a natural way to directly address their discomfort and help with their symptoms using baby massage techniques.

Common triggers of constipation & colic in babies

As parents, we get very interested in what happens in our baby’s diapers. Looking at their stool, we know right away if there’s any issue with their digestion. Babies are very much prone to gas, colic and constipation. These aren’t something to necessarily worry about, especially if it doesn’t last more than a day and that your baby isn’t showing any signs of pain. 

Constipation & diarrhea in babies

Although constipation is rare amongst babies that are breastfed, one or two occurrences of constipation every month isn’t unusual.Formula fed babies typically get more constipation issues. Irregular stools that can be dry and hard are an indication of a constipated child. Constipated babies may have bowel movement just once in every three days or so.

Obviously, this can be a very uncomfortable situation for the little ones and their parents alike. Constipated babies tend to cry a lot. Hence, if you think your baby has been crying a lot lately, then the cause might be constipation, more so, if she does not have a bowel movement for days. Incidentally, certain massage techniques for constipation seem to provide a great deal of relief to constipated babies.

On the other hand, if your baby is having diarrhea you can see a sudden increase in the number and looseness of stools. Diarrhea means there are three or more watery or very loose stools. Causes of diarrhea can include a bacteria, virus or parasite. So it’s something to keep a close eye on. Recurrent diarrhea can be caused by a cow’s milk allergy or lactose intolerance.  

Just like with older children, when a baby has constipation or diarrhea make sure they are well hydrated.

Colic in babies

Colic is usually expressed as a frequent, prolonged and intense crying or fussiness in a healthy infant. It can be quite frustrating for parents because we typically don’t see an apparent reason for the nightly episodes of crying. Behind the baby’s anguish is usually a digestive issue. It typically starts around 6 weeks old and can last a few months.

At that age, their digestive system isn’t fully developed yet. Infants can have an imbalance of bacteria in their digestive tract or some food intolerance. It could also just be gas causing them pain. Don’t worry though, colic isn’t dangerous and happens to most babies. 

Tummy massage for baby’s constipation & colic

Massages for infants have a number of positive effects like improved motor skills, better sleeping and healthier digestion! Giving a tummy massage to your baby is a natural and effective way to help with discomfort due to their digestion and release gas.

A simple tutorial for a baby stomach massage

  1. Choose a natural oil like our Petit Jovial Body & Scalp Massage Oil. Highly moisturising, kind to skin and full of natural healing properties, this beautiful oil combines safflower, sunflower, sesame and jojoba. Start by warming up a few pumps of oil between your hands 
  2. Lay your baby down on his back. With the palm of your hand near the top of your child’s  rib cage, bring your hand down in a sweeping motion, gently pressing his tummy. The goal is to help any gas down and out, as well as to relieve any built-up pressure. Repeat this motion a few times.
  3. Next, using your fingertips massage your baby’s tummy gently and slowly in a clockwise, circular motion for 30 seconds. This will further help pass any gas in the stomach or digestive tract and stimulate your baby’s bowls if he is constipated.
  4. Last move, take hold of your infant’s ankles and gently press his legs toward his chest and hold for a few seconds. You can do that a few times and alternate with a bicycle motion with his legs.
  5. Finally, place both palms on your baby’s stomach for a few moments and end the massage with a cuddle.

Tips for a great baby massage to help constipation & colic

  • If your baby isn’t in the mood for a massage or just being too fussy, don’t insist. Instead try cradling him or go for a short walk to calm him.
  • To get your baby into the moment, talk softly to your child and maintain eye contact during the massage. It will help your baby relax and enjoy this moment of bonding.
  • Always lay down your infant on a surface where he will feel comfortable and reasonably warm, without risk of falling down. 
  • This last one is evident, but sometimes it’s worth getting a reminder, don’t leave your baby on a high surface unattended. Even if you just need to pop into the next room to get the massage oil.

Hope this simple yet effective baby massage will help with his diarrhea, colic or gas.

Until next time, Tania xx

*This article is provided for informational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.