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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Simple Massages for a Fussy Baby

You may notice that your baby’s crying seems to peak in the evening and at meal times. You try all of the tips and tricks that you have learned, gripe water, probiotics, keeping the baby upright, and while wearing baby calms him most of the time, you think that your baby may have colic and want to do something more.

Colic is defined as persistent unexplained crying of an otherwise healthy baby for more than 3 hours a day.  Baby Massage is a great way to help your baby cope with his colic. Not only that but it also allows you to feel that you are playing an active role to make him feel better. There are three basic moves in Shantala Massage that help relive colic and gas.
1.     Colic Coils. This is a move that you can do while feeding your little one. It is basically using reflexology by making clockwise circles on your child’s hands and feet.
2.     I Love You. This is an inverted triangle that starts from the right side of the baby’s groin – moves upward diagonally toward the rib cage – across the body to the left side – and then finish the triangle by tracing your fingers down to the left side of the groin. The last step of this move is to make an upside down “U” around the belly button (clockwise.)
3.     Empting the Stomach. This simple move that means just that. Place your hands on the baby’s stomach and use a hand over hand motion using soft pressure to help relieve the baby’s gas.

Always make sure when you are doing any massage technique with your baby that you use a cold pressed vegetable oil such as grape seed which allow nutrients to be absorbed by the body and not removed like a conventional baby oil.

Also, follow your baby’s cues. Watch for signs to see if the baby is not enjoying the massage such as clenched fists. Sometimes you need to work at massage routine for a couple weeks before you and your baby feel comfortable.

Make sure that you follow up with your health practitioner if your baby’s colic does not seem to improve, or if it seems to get worse. Sometimes babies can have GERD, or there can be underlying food allergies or sensitivities that can be undiagnosed and cause issues for your child’s tummy. Sometimes it can be as simple as eliminating all dairy and soy from your diet if breastfeeding and switching to a hypoallergenic formula if you are using that instead.

Always reach out for support if you are feeling overwhelmed. There are lots of moms that have been in your shoes, you just have to find them.

Alisha Brignall is a Shantala Baby Massage Instructor and Parent Educator in Calgary. 

**Originally Published in M.O.B. Monthly April 2009


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