What is colic?
Colic is the name given to repeated, frequent episodes of intense crying, commonly late afternoon or early evening. The intense crying can continue for some hours, and is usually inconsolable. Babies with colic tend to be fine between bouts of colic and they generally do not show any other signs of illness.
What causes colic?
Nobody can be absolutely sure of the cause of colic but there is a popular belief it is due to intestinal pain in the baby.
When will colic stop?
It normally starts within the first few weeks of life and normally stops by 4 months of age. In some severe cases it can go on for about 6 months.
Unfortunately there is no magic cure for colic, but there are a number of things that you may wish to try to make things more comfortable for both you and your baby.
Always visit your doctor first to rule out any other possible reasons for your baby’s crying.
Massage to help relieve colic
Massaging your baby’s tummy has been well documented to help with their wind/constipation and general digestive discomforts. It is best not to massage during an episode of crying but we suggest massaging your baby’s at a couple of points during the day to help prevent the build-up of gas which can lead to a bloated/hard and uncomfortable tummy by late afternoon and early evening.
Check your environment
Firstly ensure that you have a relaxing environment to massage your baby. Choose a room which is warm and draft-free, you can sit on the floor or a bed with your baby in front of you (ensure they are safe and cannot roll off). You might choose to put on some music, to relax yourself but also your baby will learn to associate the music with massage time.
Make sure your hands are warm and clean. Warm up some cold-pressed, organic, natural oil such as sunflower. Always test a small amount on the inside of their wrist before putting on their body the first time you use new oil.
When not to massage
Do not massage your baby for 24 hour after immunisations. Do not massage on broken or bruised skin, when they are hungry or for about 30 mins after a feed. Stop if they are not enjoying it and do not start massaging when they are asleep.
Colic Massage Routine
Try a simple breathing technique to relax yourself before you begin.
1) Make eye contact with your baby and let them know you’re going to massage their tummy. Rest your hands on their chest for a moment before starting and take a deep breath.
2) With your baby lying on their back start massaging your baby in clockwise circles on their tummy around their navel. Ensure you have enough oil on their skin so that your hand glides easily and there is no dragging of their skin. You can do these clockwise circles 5 times.
3) Then you can glide your hands alternately in a paddling motion, downwards from their ribs to their hips over their tummy, repeat this about 10 times.
4) Finally hold your baby’s knees together and gently bend their legs at the knee, pushing the knees gently into their tummy. Then gently straighten the legs back out to the floor. Repeat this rowing action 10 times. Always ensure you only work within your baby’s own range of movement, never force a movement if your baby resists.
REPEAT this whole process 2 or 3 times if your baby is enjoying it. If can manage to do this 3 times a day, you should hopefully start to see some results.