Soothing a crying baby or toddler
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Alice Maclaine
Child development and education expert. Qualified Montessori teacher and children’s yoga teacher – including children with special needs.
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Baby crying

Baby massage for colic

It can be very beneficial for a baby with colic or trapped wind to have a gentle massage. This baby massage information is advised by infant physiotherapist, Denise Watson, from Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London.
Video Tutorial
In Short
It's important to know a few basic techniques. For example, a gentle clockwise massage motion helps release wind from the baby's digestive system - always massage in a clockwise direction, as anti-clockwise could result in more discomfort.

Top tips for successful baby massage

Always warm your hands before starting to massage your baby.

Try any of these different strokes:

  • The gentle but firm pressure of one warm hand on your baby’s abdomen.
  • Alternate hands stroking down on the abdomen.
  • Bend your baby’s knees gently up towards their tummy.
  • Rotate their knees gently clockwise around over their tummy.
  • Lie them over your thighs on their tummy. Roll them gently from side to side.
Colic massage

One of the really nice things that you can do for a baby with colic is to use some massage techniques that support and massage the abdomen, which is often really hard and uncomfortable. Our online courses include a full demonstration of a baby massage to help alleviate colic, and been endorsed by a paediatric physiotherapist so you know that what you’re doing is safe.

It’s better to see a proper demonstration of these techniques or take your baby along to a baby massage class so that you become confident and know how to massage your baby safely.

Baby Massage for Colic from

Warm hands on abdomen

As your baby is lying down on his back, put your nice warm hand gently and firmly on his tummy – he’ll find it really quite soothing. Alternatively, you can roll up a warm, wet flannel and just press it gently over your baby’s tummy. Again, that’s quite reassuring and relaxing for a baby with a hard, sore colicky tummy. Another nice thing you can do for your baby is to massage his abdomen in the direction in which his digestive tract flows, which is basically just a simple clockwise movement. Start from his right hip, move up and along and round and round, slowly and gently, always clockwise as you’re looking down on your baby. That will really help a baby who’s feeling bloated and in pain, and help to move any gas that’s trapped in his belly.

Alternate hands on abdomen

Alternatively, gently stroke your baby’s tummy, starting from underneath his ribs to the top of his hips, first with your right hand and then with your left.

Bent knees

Gently hold your baby’s ankles, and bring his knees right into his abdomen. After holding them there for a few seconds you can start to rotate your baby’s knees, round in a clockwise manner, round over the abdomen, and that can really help to ease them if their tummy’s hurting. If they’ve got wind you might get even hear it coming out in this position!

Lying over your thighs on their tummy

A different position you can put your baby in is by using gravity to help ease your baby’s tummy and colic, and that’s when you just sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you and lay your baby over your thighs. Just the pressure of your thighs against your baby’s abdomen may ease their sore tummy. Gently with your hand on their back, just gently roll them side to side with a gentle movement.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.