The NHS describes colic as ‘the medical term for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy and well fed. It is a poorly understood yet common condition, and affects around one in five babies.’
There is no cure for colic but the following massage techniques provided by Nikki Khan, Infacol Infant Health Expert can help reduce discomfort and ease crying:
- ‘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.
- ‘Bicycling’. This technique can help stimulate the release of the trapped gas. Whilst baby is lying on her back, each knee is alternatively taken up to the abdomen. This can be repeated about three times and then again with alternate knees, gently bring the knee to the opposite side of the abdomen.
- The ‘I Love U’ massage technique’ is named as the massage movements are like the letters ‘I, L, & U’ & should then 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 the letter ‘L’;
- For the ‘U’, 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.
- ‘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.
- ‘Tiger in the tree’ or the ‘Lazy Lion’ hold can help greatly with colic:-
- Support your baby by laying him along one of your arms facing downwards with their head by your elbow;
- Your arm should support their weight, whilst your hand is holding the top of a leg firmly;
- Rest your free hand on her 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 his 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!