Gas in your baby’s digestive tract can cause a firm tummy and an uncomfortable baby. One of the ways you can help to relieve some of the built-up gas is through an infant massage. Not only does a massage help you bond with your baby, it also can promote gastric movement to aid in your baby’s digestion.
Infant massage works best in a warm room so your little one won’t get too cold. If you like, you can use massage oil. Remember that babies love to put their fingers in their mouths, so it’s important the oil is edible and safe for little ones. Examples include almond, olive, sesame, or coconut oil. You may want to test a few drops on your baby’s skin at first to ensure he or she won’t break out.
The next time your baby is wriggling uncomfortably after a feeding or pulling at his or her legs (likely signs he is experiencing gas), try these infant massage techniques.
- Step 1: Place your baby on his or her back so you can look at each other face-to-face. You may want to start with a few leg cycles, much like your baby is riding a bicycle. This can start to help your baby release some gas.
- Step 2: Apply a small amount of massage oil to your baby by starting with strokes from the top of the chest downward, extending to the legs and feet.
- Step 3: Starting at your baby’s shoulders, cross from the right side down to the left, curving around the belly button and stopping just above the diaper line.
- Step 4: Circle around your baby’s belly button in slow, gentle clockwise motions. This helps to move gas in the digestive tract in the right direction. You can also use both hands to draw parentheses on either side of your baby’s belly button to encourage gas relief.
Infant massage can soothe your baby’s tummy troubles, and it doesn’t have to take long. Anywhere from 5-20 minutes over the course of a day can help to relieve gas pains. This approach can also be effective in helping your baby sleep better at night, which is why it is excellent to incorporate into a nighttime routine before bed. You may even want to sing a song to your baby or play soothing music during the massage for extra relaxation.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, August 2019
- Infant massages not only help relieve gas in your little one, it’s also a great bonding time for parent and baby.
- You can use massage oil, as long as its edible and safe for your baby.
- Infant massages do not need to take a long time and is great to do right before bedtime.