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  • Blossom & Berry Baby Massage Body Suit for Tummy problems

How massage can help a baby with colic.

by Gayle Berry of Blossom & Berry Baby Massage and Baby Yoga

Having a baby who is suffering with colic can be very hard to deal with. It is not clear exactly what causes colic and there are varying degrees of discomfort. It is thought that a baby suffering with colic opposed to bad wind would show the following signs;

Hard Tummy

Lack of Eye Contact

Prolonged crying at a similar time everyday (Usually teatime 4-9pm)

A slight blue tinge to the lips

Difficulty in passing wind

Drawing legs up to the chest.

It can be very uncomfortable for baby and distressing as a parent to watch. My daugther suffered form it and it was the feeling of helplessness which caused the most harm. What can you do when your child is in pain and you can’t seem to settle them.

For me the answer was baby massage (and now as I have learnt in baby yoga for many). Massaging the tummy helps to reduce the build of wind, release wind held in the tummy, soothe tummy ache and encouarge the development of the digestive system.

Some hints to help

Find a local baby massage class where you can learn techniques to help reduce and improve wind. Not only is this a great way to learn but it helps to have the support of other parents around you. There will be someone else experiencing the same thing as you are. Try searching on www.blossomandberry.com/directory.html  for a class near you.

If you can’t get to a class then try to learn some techniques at home. There are many excellent books on baby massage. You could also try using the Blossom & Berry Baby Massage Body Suit which will show you exactly where to massage to relieve colic and also congestion on the chest. Our shop is full of books, CDs and resources

If you need to start right away; Make sure you baby is healthly and well, not suffering from any serious medical condition, on any medication or experiencing any ill health such as vomiting or diarheoa. Also wait 48-72 hours after immunisation.

Use a vegetable based carrier oil and try some simple massage strokes working gently and softly from the top of the tummy to the bottom. You could also make some gentle clockwise circle on the tummy following the path of digestion. The rule is to work with strokes from top to bottom and clockwise on the tummy to expel wind. Also try these my rubbing the baby’s back in the tummy is too tender.

It is always better to visit or speak to an instructor in person on over the phone if you can. Blossom & Berry have a natural soothe, settle and sleep program to help support parents of colicky babies. Have a look at our website www.blossomandberry.com/sleep.html for more details.

Baby Yoga is also fantastic for easing wind and certain essential oils suitable for babies may be helpful

Colic usually passes after 12 weeks and it is very common. Talk to your health visitor if you are worried.

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Here are a couple of ways to help get baby off to sleep gently. Not all babies sleep throught the night at first as they may need feeding often especially if they are breast fed or premature. A new born’s tummy is the size of a walnut so needs refilling regularly. Your baby will get into a natural sleep pattern eventually.

 All of these techniques are taken from instinctive settling methods passed from generation to generation. Many are used routinely in different cultures. Babies responds best to womb like conditions so try to think about how you can recreate this secure environment. Things to consider are;

Keeping noise low/muffled-Baby will respond well to the sound of your heartbeat.

 

Keeping baby feeling secure by swaddling/wrapping or keeping baby close to your body.

 

Keeping lights low

 

Keeping baby warm

 

Mimicking gentle swaying movements and motions similar to those experienced in the womb.

 

The following techniques can be done before massage to help to relax your baby or whenever baby is feeling tense. It is not necessary to remove your baby’s clothes before practicing the techniques.

 

Using a sling

 

Slings are used in many cultures to help settle and soothe baby whilst allowing the parent to continue to fulfill many other tasks. Using a sling to settle your baby can be very effectively. Slings offer a way to provide skin to skin contact and comfort but allow you to have your hands free to do whatever you need to do. They are used in many cultures for this reason. They also allow baby to experience the comforting sensation of movement, the sound of the heartbeat, and the scent of their parent. There are many different styles on the market. One of the best is the Kari Me sling which is available through our website www.blossomandberry.com/shop

 

Tiger in Tree

 

Make a cradle with your arms and lay your baby on its front in your arms so that its tummy is directly over your hands. Let your baby’s legs and arms dangle either side of your arms cradling him. If this becomes tiring then you can lay your baby in this position whilst sitting down. The feel of your hands will bring warmth to your baby’s tummy and your touch will comfort baby. This position will provide your baby with a new view of his environment and the slight pressure will again help with trapped wind.

 

Baby Swaying

 

Use the Tiger in the Tree position Make sure his head is well supported in the nook of your elbow. Gently sway your baby from side to side.

Important-Make sure you have a good hold of your baby before you begin to sway.

 

 

Indian Bouncing

 

This is a technique used in Indian by mothers to soothe their babies. It applies a slight pressure to the stomach helping to ease any trapped wind. The rhythmical movements are also very soothing for baby and the patting replicates the sound of a mother’s heartbeat.

 

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you or sit on a chair or sofa. Place your baby across your lap so that they he is face down. Make sure your baby’s head and neck is well supported by your legs.

 

Gently move your knees up and down in a rhythmical motion so that your baby is gently bobbing up and down on your lap.

 

Whilst you are moving your knees, gently pat baby on the back with flat palms in rhythm with your knee movements.

 

Swaddling

 

Swaddling can often help to calm babies as it has the effect of recreating the security and closeness of the tight space of the womb. Ask your health visitor or mid wife to show you how to swaddle your baby.

 

Bathing

 

Warm water has been shown to help the body produce the hormone oxytocin which has a relaxing effect on the body. Try taking a warm bath together prior to the usual episode of fussing to help release built up tension and wind.

 

Fireman’s lift

 

Place baby high up on your shoulder with baby’s tummy resting on your shoulder. Make sure you have a good hold of baby either under the arms or around the waist. Babies will enjoy a different view and the gentle pressure on the tummy can help to soothe any windy pains.

 

Dancing with baby

 

Babies love movement and respond well to rhythm and different sounds. Dancing with your baby provides an excellent distraction for baby and is a fun activity for both of you helping to release endorphins or “happy hormones”

 

Going for a walk

 

Movement and fresh air are both good settlers for baby. Using a sling or a buggy provides gentle movement which baby will recognise with the sensations experienced in the secure environment of the womb.

 

Gentle Massage

 

If you are using massage to settle your baby try a session in late morning perhaps before a nap, and in the late afternoon before your baby is prone to becoming over-stimulated. Try to prevent over-stimulation in the afternoon by avoiding loud noises and bright lights. Gentle singing with the massage can also help to calm baby. If a baby becomes over-stimulated try not to do too much with the baby at one time.

A mum at a Blossom & Berry Baby Massage ClassA mum at a Blossom & Berry Baby Massage Class

Benefits of Baby Massage by Gayle Berry of Blossom & Berry http://www.blossomandberry.com

Using Baby Massage

Infant massage is beneficial for you and your baby in so many ways. Studies have shown how important touch is to your growing baby and its importance for you in helping build confidence and an understanding of the new special person in your life. The main benefits can be summarised as;

 

Relief for your baby

 

You may find that during the first months of your baby’s life he may suffer from a number of minor uncomfortable complaints. One of the most common complaints is trapped wind. This is largely thought to be caused by babies swallowing air when feeding and having an immature digestive system unable to cope with expelling it. A distressing form of trapped wind is known as colic and is catogorised by prolonged bouts of crying, pain when passing trapped wind, a hard tense stomach and baby bringing his knees up to his chest in discomfort Relief from colic and wind is an important benefit of baby massage. Massage helps to tone the digestive tract, expel wind from the body and break down large air bubbles, making them easier for your baby to pass. By massaging your baby’s tummy you are physically able to support your baby’s digestive system. Massage can also help to ease constipation too. This can be of particular use when your baby starts solid food. Massage can also bring relief from the pain of teething through massage around the mouth and gums. It can also help to ease sinus congestion by helping to drain the nasal passages of mucus. The use of oils on your baby’s skin can also help to improve the overall condition of his skin which can be particularly useful if your baby suffers from dry skin, eczema or cradle cap.

Creating bonds between you and your baby.

 

Bonding with your baby is a complex matter occurring over time through understanding and communication. It does not always happen immediately and there is not set time in which you must bond with a baby or the opportunity to do so lost. Bonding is very important between a parent and baby to ensure the survival of the baby and the emotional state of the parent. Your baby needs you to feel a “bond” towards him so that his needs are met and he is protected and nurtured. Massage encourages bonding by creating the perfect environment for touch, eye contact, exchange of personal odors, and vocalisation with your baby; all important aspects of bonding.

 

Relaxation for you both.

 

If you have ever had a massage you will be familiar with the sensation of wellbeing it evokes and the release of tension throughout the body. Your baby will experience these sensations when you massage him. A happy relaxed baby is more likely to feed well, sleep well and have a good temperament. A happy baby also helps to make a happy parent. If your baby is feeling relaxed you will be more likely to feel relaxed which is important in the early days of parenting when it can often feel as if you are on a steep learning curve. Having fun with your, exchanging smiles and laughing together whilst you massage are important in building a relationship of love and trust between you. When you massage the skin, the body produces the hormones prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones help to lower the levels of stress hormones in your body and help combat the symptoms of stress.

 

Helping your Baby’s Development

 

Stimulation of the skin is crucial to the development of all young, not only human infants. Studies have shown that infant animals not exposed to touch tend to be aggressive and can develop antisocial behaviors. Massage can help to encourage your baby’s development by providing him with the vital skin stimulation he craves, boosting the circulation to his muscles making him stronger and more physically able. His brain is stimulated with new sensations and experiences. By evoking all of your baby’s senses using massage, you will teach him about social behavior, language, movement and you can help him to reach his developmental goals. A daily massage can also help to increase your baby’s stimulation levels by stimulating his nervous system producing new connections between the body and the brain. The more developed a baby’s nervous system, the more equipped he will be to cope with stimulation such as bright lights, loud noises, and strange smells.

A client using the famous Baby Massage Mat

Why massage is so beneficial for parents and babies?

 I have been a baby massage instructor for 7 years, inspired by the amazing effects it had with my windy and unsetlled  baby. I was a very nervous new mum who had never held a baby before and followed tips in baby books rather than daring to trust my instincts!

My daughter relaxed, had much less trouble with her tummy and we had a good night’s sleep. Baby Massage had saved the day! So much so that I gave up my job as a city lawyer and became an instructor myself to help share the benefits and confidence I had gained from classes.

Six years later and 2 boys later (3 children under 3 and half not to be advised unless you are really brave!!) my baby massage and baby yoga business is growing teaching 20 or 30 parents a week and lecturing on the subject. My big plunge came last summer when I started Blossom & Berry Baby Massage and Yoga to help promote baby massage nationally, help parents find baby massage instructors and provide resources for parents. Blossom & Berry is growing all the time and although it can be tricky balancing the children and work, I really believe in what I do.

The best thing about my job is that even if baby massage classes don’t go to plan every time (babies are unpredictable!) parents confidence with their babies grows after a few sessions and I have never had any negetive feedback about any baby’s enjoyment of massage. It is often a case of getting the timing right, keeping things short and sweet and adding in lots of great rhymes and songs. I developed a baby massage course using songs and rhymes for older babies for this reason although it has been so popular I now include them with younger babies. I am also very busy working on Blossom & Berry’s Baby Massage Mat (TM) which is proving to be really popular. I am really proud of the product because it makes learning baby massage very simple and serves as a gentle reminder to use baby massage everyday. The Blossom & Berry Baby Massage Body Suit (TM) has also helped lots of mums with babies with colic by giving an easy baby massage rountine for the tummy. Colic is really hard to deal with for both babies and parents and baby massage really helps.

Below is a short article I wrote to promote baby massage;

Our society has a mixed approach to baby care and parenting styles. Fashions change and shape the way we behave. From my experience, babies enjoy simple and uncomplicated activities. They love faces, voices, cuddles and crave comforting conditions similar to those in the womb.You don’t need to buy expensive equipment, toys and stimulation devices a few sessions of massage and yoga will help give you the skills to help you relax your child for life. Activites and movements used will help to further and develop the bond you have with your child using touch to facilitate communication and understanding. Baby Massage will help build confidence in your ability as a parent and help you respond to your child’s desire for touch and close nurturing.

Baby Massage classes are all about you and your baby and helping your relationship develop and grow through trusting your instinctual feelings and abilitites. If your baby is unsettled or tense it is important to understand that it isn’t because you are doing things “wrong”, you have a “difficult baby” or you are a “bad parent”. It takes a while to get to know you baby. Not everyone falls in love at first sight! Focus on the things you and your baby enjoy and can do together rather than the things you think you should be doing. This may mean holding baby more than you do at the moment or giving baby a bit of space from you if you are overly anxious about him.

It is an old saying but “ A happy relaxed mum makes a happy relaxed baby” . You baby perceives the world through you so if possible project a happy, relaxed stance whenever you can. Babies don’t understand the complexities of life but they understand smiles, cuddles, warmth and touch. Be happy and confident in what you choose to do with your baby. It is your decision how to parent. There is no “right” way. If it feels right to you and your baby responds with positive cues then you can feel happy that things are developing well

The power of a supportive touch, cuddle or stroke to convey a message of security and comfort to a baby or child cannot be underestimated. A touch can communicate affection and support instantly. Enjoy taking time to get to know your baby, listen to your instincts, communicate well and experience your confidence and relationship grow.

There is lots of other information on baby massage on our website www.blossomandberry.com as well as info  on natural birth and pregnancy.

I hope to include some other tips on baby massage and baby yoga in my next blog

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I hope you find some of the information in this blog useful to introduce baby massage. It is never too late to introduce massage with your child and discover its many benefits.



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