Newborn Baby Massage For Gas

Envision the face on a clock on your baby’s tummy. Start at 7 or 8 o’clock and move from left to right in a half moon shape, gently pressing and sliding your hands in a clockwise motion. One hand follows the other. Paddling.

Paddle your baby’s tummy in a clockwise motion starting at 7 or 8 o’clock and ending at 5 or 6 o’clock. Paddle the left side, then the right side of the tummy in one smooth, relaxing movement.

The Newborn Baby Massage for Gas technique is designed to help release trapped gas and move it through your baby’s digestive system. Lay your baby on his back, positioning him so that you can see his stomach. With both hands, make a clockwise circular stroke from 6 o’clock to 2 o’clock around his tummy; continue for about 30 seconds. Repeat two more times at 30-second intervals.

With newborn massage, gently rub the baby’s belly in a slow and firm circular motion. Place your hand on top of theirs, and mimic its movements. You can also use the same technique with a tennis ball or infant toy ball.

A newborn massage induces drowsiness and helps babies fall asleep quickly. As your baby grows, massage will help with digestion and relieve gas, constipation, colic, and other painful tummy problems.

Newborn Baby Tummy Massage

Babies start experiencing gas a few days or weeks after birth. It usually resolves by itself at six to seven months but may last for longer. A common cause of gassiness in babies is air swallowed while feeding or crying. For breastfed babies, the mother’s diet may also cause gassiness (1). In such cases, tummy massages can help release the trapped gas and relieve the baby.

Read on to learn about some baby massages for gas and other tips to manage gas in babies.

What Are The Symptoms Of Gas In Babies?

The symptoms that may indicate your baby is suffering from gas are as follows 1:

What Massages Will Help Relieve Gas In Babies?

Massaging your baby’s tummy will help move the gas towards the bowel and relieve them of gas, colic, and constipation. You may use massage oil for proper movements and less resistance. Some daily massage techniques that may help release gas from your baby are as follows (2):

1. Tummy massages

  • Hands of a clock: Perform this massage in a circular motion. Make the bottom half of a semi-circle from your left to right with your right hand. Then make a full circle in clockwise motion with your left hand. Always perform this massage in clockwise direction with the left hand following the right.
  • Fulling: Place your thumbs flat on your baby’s stomach and move them in a push-pull motion to the sides. Do two strokes above the naval, one stroke on either side moving out from the naval, and two strokes below the naval.
  • Paddling: With the sides of your palms, make downward strokes on your baby’s stomach from the rib cage to the pelvis. Each hand should follow the other in a continuous motion.
  • Moonwalking: Use your fingertips to walk across your baby’s abdomen from left to right. Do this above the naval area in a push-pull motion without poking.
  • I Love You: With your palms, form an ‘I’ on the left side of the baby’s tummy. In the same way, draw an upside-down ‘L’ and ‘U,’ starting from your left to the right.
  • Knees up: While holding your baby’s calves and knees gently, push both the legs together towards their tummy and hold it there for around five seconds. Repeat the process three to five times.
  • Circular massage: Using baby oil, massage around the navel in a clockwise circular motion with your right hand. Continue this motion while slowly making bigger circles around the stomach but under the ribs. Then, with your left hand, glide across and back on the baby’s belly (3).

2. Foot massages

Reflexology is a therapy that effectively improves relaxation and wellbeing (4). Furthermore, certain studies on the effects of reflexology on babies suggest that they positively impact their health and wellbeing (5). Even so, more research is required for homogeneous results.

Nonetheless, after discussing with your healthcare provider or pediatrician, you could massage the correct pressure points in your baby’s feet with moderate pressure to help relieve gas and colic.

3. Massages for colic

Colic is a condition where an otherwise healthy baby cries and fusses for unknown reasons for more than three hours (6). To date, the exact cause of colic in babies is unknown, but gas formation or food intolerance are sometimes considered as underlying reasons.

The massaging techniques used to relieve gas can help provide relief from colic as well.

What Are Some Other Tips For Managing Gas In Babies?

Other than massages, the following ways also help to manage gas in babies (7):

  • Ensure less air is swallowed by your baby while feeding by slowing down the milk flow. Try different types of bottles or nipples to ensure this.
  • Burp your baby during and after their feeding session to remove excess air from their system.
  • Lay them flat on their back, hold their legs in your hands, and move them in a bicycling motion. Also, try giving them some tummy time to pressurize the excess gas out of the body.
  • If certain foods in your diet may be causing gassiness in your breastfed baby, refrain from consuming them. However, consult your doctor before doing so to avoid discontinuing beneficial foods
  • If your baby is formula-fed, hold off on powdered formula and use ready-to-feed formula instead.

Watch this video to better understand how to get started with the massages mentioned above.

It is not uncommon for babies to develop gas at a younger age. Gas can cause a lot of discomfort to babies and, therefore, the parents. Learning massage tricks may come in handy while trying to console your crying baby in the middle of the night. Massages may also help calm your colicky baby and help them fall asleep easily. However, you may seek help from your doctor or nurses at the hospital if you have any doubts about your newborn baby’s massage strokes. Be sure always to use a gentle touch when you massage your baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I get my gassy baby to sleep?

Massages and other techniques, such as a gentle pat on the baby’s back or tummy massage, can help to relieve gas discomfort and thus help your baby sleep (1).

2. What are the pressure points to relieve gas in babies?

Large Intestine 4 (He Gu), Spleen 6 (San Yin Jiao), and Stomach 36 (Zu San Li) are some pressure points that may help relieve gas in babies (8).

3. Why is gas worse at night for babies?

According to a study, infantile colic caused by factors such as flatulence (gas) that is prevalent during the early night hours may be related to gut immaturity of the baby or breastfeeding (9).

4. Can my baby sleep through gas pains?

Babies can often sleep through gas pains, but if they are restless, they will cry constantly and will be unable to sleep.

It is not uncommon for babies to develop gas at a younger age. Gas can cause a lot of discomfort to babies and, therefore, the parents. Learning massage tricks may come in handy while you are desperately trying to console your crying baby in the middle of the night. Massages may also help calm your colicky baby and help in putting them to sleep with ease. However, you may seek help from your doctor or nurses at the hospital if you have any doubts about your newborn baby’s massage strokes.

How To Massage Baby Tummy To Poop

I had the pleasure of taking a series of infant massage classes with doula and infant massage instructor Brigitte Arle, CD (DONA), CEIM, and one of her classes focused on encouraging digestion and gas elimination to ease the tummy troubles that may be keeping your little one up at night. Here are some of the techniques I learned for relieving colic and gas pain.

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  1. Water Wheel – Place one hand under your baby’s rib cage with the pinky side down and palm facing your baby’s feet. Gently scoop your hand down his abdomen, stopping above his pelvis. Repeat the motion with your other hand, and continue alternating hands fluidly.
  2. Knees Up – Bring your baby’s bent knees together toward his belly, taking care to provide support behind his knees with your index fingers. Gently press and bounce his knees into his tummy.
  3. Sun and Moon – Draw your right hand around your baby’s belly in a clockwise full circle and let your left hand follow, drawing a partial clockwise circle.
  4. I Love You – Hold your index and middle finger together, like you’re taking a Girl Scout oath. Gently press the pads of your index and middle finger down the left side of your baby’s belly, from under the rib cage to the leg crease, like an “I”. Then, starting on the left side of your baby’s belly, drag your index and middle finger across to the right and then down, like an inverted “L”. After that, starting at your baby’s right leg crease, drag your fingers in the shape of an upside-down “U” over the bellybutton and all the way to the left leg crease.
  5. Thumbs to Sides – Hold your baby at the waist with both your thumbs in the center of his belly. Draw both thumbs out to the sides of his abdomen simultaneously.

Before you begin a massage, always check in with your baby and ask permission to massage him. If he’s open and receptive to massage at that time, place a few drops of gentle, scent-free massage oil, such as organic sunflower oil, into your palms and rub your hands together near your baby’s head. The sound of your palms rubbing will become a non-verbal cue that lets your baby know he’ll be receiving a massage. Now rest your open hands on his belly and take several cleansing breaths to relax before you start.

Vimala McClure, founder of the International Association of Infant Massage and author of Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents, recommends repeating what she refers to as “The Colic-Relief Routine” twice a day for at least two weeks. This routine involves doing the following in succession for six counts each: Water Wheel, followed by Knees Up, Sun and Moon, and, lastly, Knees Up again.

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