Feet? Check! Legs? Check! Hips, arms, chest? Check, check and check! If you’ve been following this series on infant massage and testing out the moves you’ve learned, then by now your little sweetie should be oozing feel-good vibes. And you’re probably feeling pretty in the zone too. See? I told you this was easy and fun!
The next logical place to go is to the tummy, which happens to be my favorite squishy little spot of all! Not only does tummy massage often bring giggles it is also a great (GREAT!) way to relieve gas bubbles and constipation. In fact, a little tummy massage in combination with a few yoga moves were a more than daily occurrence in my household back when my little bean was an even tinier bean.
The very important thing to remember when doing tummy massage is how the intestines are positioned in your baby’s belly. You want to remember that the part of the intestines that eliminates is located on the lower left side of the baby’s tummy. So you always want to do strokes with this in mind and the idea that you are “pushing things” through and out of the intestinal system. Which means always move your hands from top to bottom and in a clockwise pattern when doing circular strokes.
- Start with your hands lightly resting on baby;s tummy
- With your hands across baby’s tummy (fingers pointing to either side) scoop your right hand toward the bottom of the belly as you bring your opposite hand over the moving hand and then scoop that hand down as well in a “paddling” motion. Repeat this a few times smoothly moving one hand over the other as though you are scooping the tummy downward.
- Place your thumbs flat just at the belly button and slide the thumbs outward toward baby;s sides while apply light but firm pressure.
- “I Love You” So named so you can remember the order of the strokes. What you want to do here is use the flat of your fingers to move things along the intestine, but much like a tangled hair knot, you don’t want to just comb the whole thing out, but rather start at the end and work your way back. You can literally feel the gas bubbles moving with this one!
- Place fingers (mainly the middle three) on baby’s left side, below ribs (This will be YOUR right side as you look at baby) firmly but gently, stroke downward. (One straight line – the letter “I”) repeat a few times.
- Now place fingers on the baby’s right side below the ribcage (Your left this time) and stroke across the belly toward the right side then turn and stroke down ending on baby’s lower left tummy as before (Making an “L” shape) Repeat a few times.
- This time start the stroke at the bottom of baby’s right tummy (Again – your left) Now follow the stroke up, over the tummy and down ending once again at the lower left tummy. (Making a “U” shape) Repeat a few times.