What is colic and how can baby massage help?

Colic is described as a baby having prolonged crying even though they are otherwise healthy and well fed. This doesn’t give new parents a lot of information and can be very frustrating when your baby has been screaming for 3 hours in what seems like a lot of pain and you have no idea why. I hope this blog will give you a little more insight and some tips to help your baby settle.

Colic is thought to be caused by stomach ache as babies have difficulty passing wind. This difficulty is due to the baby having an immature digestive system so throughout the day the wind and gas build up until baby begins to become very uncomfortable and this leads to the prolonged crying that is known as colic. The crying is usually accompanied by arching of the back and pulling up of the knees. Just what we want to do when we have tummy ache or get awful period cramps.

If you are reading this in a desperate search of answers then I hope that I can be of assistance. Firstly when you are winding baby, ensure that he has a straight back and support him under the chin. This keeps the oesophagus straight, helping the wind travel back up. If you are struggling to get the wind up then try placing baby over your knee, having a cushion available for support if you need to and gently bounce your knees alternately. This puts pressure on the tummy and the rocking motion is soothing. Another position that may be soothing would be a hold called ‘Tiger in a Tree’ where baby is forward facing and his head is placed in the crook of your arm and your other arm comes up between the legs. Your hands rest on his tummy which has the ‘hot water bottle effect’. You can then add in a little bounce as you walk around the room.

During the baby massage course we cover tummy massage which stimulates and tones the

digestive system, breaks down the gas bubbles and expels the wind that is the cause of all the upset. We also cover a specific colic routine which parents can do twice a day.

What is important to remember is if you are struggling with a colicky baby then you are not alone. I have met so many parents who are at their wits end and I was one of those parents with my eldest son but I promise it does get better. If you are struggling to cope then there are some great support networks available. Cry-sis is a helpline that provides support for families with excessively crying, sleepless and demanding babies www.cry-sis.org.uk

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