It can often be hard to know whether you’re doing the right thing to help a colicky or winded baby. That’s why we offer step-by-step videos with expert advice. We’ve got everything covered: from the best techniques to solve trapped wind, to how to massage a colicky baby.
What is colic in babies?
Colic is long, inconsolable bouts of crying (often for over hours at a time) that happen for no specific reason (such as needing feeding or changing their nappies) and occur several times per week. Colic usually begins when the baby is a few weeks old and lasts until they are around 3-4 months old.
What is wind in babies?
Wind is simply the air bubbles in their stomach and all babies have it. It only becomes uncomfortable when these air bubbles become trapped in the stomach due to babies taking in lots of air at once (usually through feeding or gulping).
Winding techniques video for avoiding colic
There’s a lot of things you can do to help avoid the possibility of colic in your baby. It’s important to regularly wind them during and after a feed to keep chances of colic to a minimum.
One technique is to sit your baby forward (with their chin gently resting in the crook of your hand) and then use your spare hand to gently rub their back in a circular motion or gently pat them. If easier, you can also do this with your baby over your shoulder or standing up which is particularly helpful if your baby also likes to be rocked gently.
Another position to try is laying your baby across your lap with their head to one side. Again try to gently rub or pat their back to soothe them.
All of these techniques should hopefully help get the air in your baby’s tummy moving quickly around and out of the body to ease any discomfort.
Types of colic baby massages
There are lots of different types of baby massage to help prevent and ease colic. Make sure you always do these types of massage around 40 minutes after a feed.
Tiger in the tree technique
The tiger in the tree hold is a type of massage that’s best done at the end of your routine. Using whichever is the most comfortable, take one of your arms and bring it over your baby’s tummy and underneath their nappy. This will give your baby security and allow them to also lie on their tummy, which can really help them get rid of any discomfort. Then, using your spare hand, massage their back in a clockwise movement for around 10-20 seconds. After this, bring your back down to a lying position and if it is the end of your routine swaddle them.
Sun and Moon technique
The sun and moon technique can really help calm babies with colic. To start with, look at your baby’s tummy as if it were a clock (with 12 o’clock at the top and 6 o’clock at the bottom). Then get some baby oil (if it’s massage oil, make sure it’s suitable for babies) and begin at 6 o’clock. Using your left hand, move around the baby’s bowel; going from 6 o’clock to 12 o’clock (from bottom to top). Now use your right hand and do the opposite- massaging from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Do this six times to help move the bubbles gently around your baby’s body.
Scooping the sand massage technique
Scooping the sand is another massage technique to soothe and calm colicky babies. Using a massage oil (always check this is a baby-friendly oil before you begin), scoop your hands down your baby’s tummy (the soft part located underneath their ribs) towards the bowel as demonstrated in the video. Repeat this movement six times to reap maximum benefit. It’s perfectly normal to hear your baby pass wind as you do this it means it is working! Doing this gentle massage technique regularly helps keep gas moving out of the body and eases any discomfort in your baby’s tummy.
Round the clock massage technique
Round the Clock is one of many massage techniques that can help soothe and calm a colicky baby. Like the Sun and Moon technique, you’ll need to imagine your baby’s tummy as a clock face. This time divide into quadrants (12-3, 3-6 and so on) and spend fifteen seconds massaging each of the four quadrants with a baby-friendly massage oil. Work around the bowel and do this complete routine approximately 3 times to help move and eliminate the air from your baby’s tummy. After this, try to bring your baby’s knees up to their chest to finish the technique.
I Love U massage technique
‘I Love U’ baby massage is an effective massage with a lovely sentiment behind it! Using your baby-friendly massage oil (or if you have none to hand, try olive oil), make a gentle ‘I’ ‘L’ and ‘U’ movement across the baby’s tummy (make sure you watch the full demonstration to ensure you’re doing this correctly). Not only does this massage allow you to bond with your baby, it also is very effective at expelling air out from your baby and easing their discomfort. Remember to always try to end your massage by bringing your baby’s knees to their chest.
Bicycling massage technique
The bicycling technique is an anti-colic massage that can really help with any trapped wind and discomfort. Start with rubbing your oil (use baby massage oil or olive oil) into your hands and begin at the legs. Gently rub the oil into the legs and slowly bring one knee at a time up to your baby’s chest. Try to hold this position for around three seconds before then switching to the other knee. By repeating this technique 3 times per knee, you should hopefully get the gas bubbles moving around the tummy and notice a difference in your baby’s discomfort levels.