5 Massages to Help Alleviate Constipation in Babies

April 9, 2018

Constipation in babies is a common condition during the first months of life. It can affect both the baby’s mood and their feeding.

In this article we’ll share with you a series of massages that can help to alleviate your baby’s constipation.

Thanks to these massages, you’ll be able to relieve their symptoms at home without the use of medication.

Constipation is truly an unpleasant condition for everyone. It can be an even bigger problem in babies since they don’t have the ability to communicate the origin of their pain.

Although it’s uncomfortable and makes parents worry, constipation usually happens in the first months and years of life.

We’re able to detect it when the baby starts to act up and of course, when they only have a few solid depositions daily.

A child is considered to be constipated when they present 3 or fewer depositions a week.

Causes of constipation

The main cause of constipation in babies is a diet lacking in liquids or fiber.

Liquids such as breast milk and water are extremely important to maintain hydration.

They’re also fundamental for the functioning of muscles and the body as a whole. Fiber helps to soften their stool.

Constipation can also be caused by eating certain constipating foods. We’ll explain more on this below.

External factors can also lead to constipation. Just like adults, babies absorb stimuli from their environment and on many occasions they respond with their bodies.

This explains why traumatic events, whether it may be personal or not, can cause this condition.

“Constipation can occur in the first months and years of life.”

Massages that help alleviate constipation in babies

Certain massages can help effectively fight constipation in babies. In order to carry them out, it’s best to find a moment when the baby is calm.

Here are five exercises that can be a great help:

1. Dragging movement

In order to perform this exercise, lay the baby face up and use your palms to make movements from their ribs to the lower part of their abdomen.

While doing this, exert light pressure. It shouldn’t be too strong because that will bother them.

The pressure you apply should be light, but not imperceptible. You can also perform this exercise while their legs are lifted up.

5 Massages to Help Alleviate Constipation in Babies

2. Knee movements

The baby should be placed face up. Hold their legs by the ankles and extend them fully. After, flex them until they touch the baby’s stomach.

Hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat these movements a few times. You can also make them pedal as though they were on a bicycle.

3. Clockwise massages

This is the most practiced massage against constipation. Place the baby face up. Hold their knees and their legs should be partially flexed.

Use your fingers to draw a circle in a clockwise motion. You should perform this movement slowly for a few seconds, stop and then repeat.

4. Side Massage

For this exercise, place the baby on its left side. Stretch one of their legs and flex the other one until the knee touches their belly.

Do this for about 10 minutes and then switch sides. You can do this exercise up to 6 times a day.

5. Inverted letters

Place the baby face up, then draw the letter I on the left side of their belly. Then, draw an inverted L and finally an inverted U. This has been shown to improve their intestinal movements.

“Certain foods can cause constipation and they’re usually the first solid foods the baby starts to eat. That’s why you should pay special attention after you stop breastfeeding them.”

More tips

In addition to these massages, there are other tips that can be quite useful when dealing with constipation in babies.

Here are a few examples:

  • Change their diet. Increase their consumption of foods that are rich in fiber such as vegetables and fruits. It’s also important to increase their water consumption as well.
  • Movement. Your child might be too small to do physical activity, but as soon as they begin to walk it’s important for them to use their energy during the day. Movement encourages intestinal transit.
  • Good habits. Teach the child not to hold in the desire to go to the bathroom.
5 Massages to Help Alleviate Constipation in Babies

What foods should they avoid?

Certain foods can cause constipation and it’s best to avoid them. Here are some of the main culprits:

  • Rice
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Carrots

Most of these are the first solid foods to be introduced to a baby’s diet. That’s why we should pay special attention after making the switch from breastfeeding.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the foods mentioned above are actually effective ways to combat diarrhea.

If their condition persists for a prolonged period of time and if these measures don’t work for the child, you should consult your doctor.

Prolonged constipation can be a sign of a more serious condition, and therefore it should be treated with urgency.