Long Nights and Poop
For a while during the first weeks of new baby’s life, she would wake up at least once a night and not be able to be comforted back to sleep other than by being walked around for around an hour and this included her often times appearing to be uncomfortable during much of that. I started to think it might be linked to her digestion because often times especially fussy nights would be followed by another waking because of poop. I was becoming frustrated and tired. One night, in desperation, I gave her some tummy massage that I had learned from a Mommy and me type yoga/Pilates DVD and it seemed to help calm her. I also noticed that massaging some digestion reflexology points that I knew relaxed her as well.
Rub Her Tummy
My doula came by to drop something off to me and we chatted for a little while. I mentioned baby’s midnight discomforts and pooping. I said, I didn’t mind poops so much if they were at least during the day, but half asleep and in the dark was no fun. She then shared with me a way I could help encourage baby’s digestive system to regulate so that she pooped during the daytime. I was all ears. She went on to describe specific tummy massages that I could do to help baby. The ones she mentioned and I do to baby are numbers 1, 2, and 5 from the list below.
List from Parents.com under tummy massage.
1. Hold your hand so your pinky’s edge can move like a paddle across your baby’s belly. Starting at the base of the rib cage, stroke down with one hand, then the other, in a paddle-wheel-like motion.
2. Massage her abdomen with your fingertips in a circular, clockwise motion.
3. Do the “I Love U” stroke: Trace the letter I down your baby’s left side. Then trace an inverted L, stroking across the belly along the base of her ribs from her right side to her left and down. Trace an inverted U, stroking from low on the baby’s right side, up and around the navel, and down the left side.
4. Walk your fingers around her navel, clockwise.
5. Hold knees and feet together and gently press knees up toward her abdomen. Rotate baby’s hips around a few times to the right. (This often helps expel gas.)
6. Place hand on tummy horizontally and rock your hand from side to side a few times. Note: Avoid massaging tummy if the cord hasn’t completely healed.
I wait a while after she’s nursed to massage her tummy so that she doesn’t spit up with all that pushing on her belly. I count to six while I hold her knees and feet pressed up toward her abdomen (#5). I repeat the massage moves 3 times on her while she does not have a diaper on. Most times she likes it and is very relaxed for it. Sometimes she locks her knees and doesn’t want me to push her knees up into her tummy. If she doesn’t release her locked knees, then I just wait til another time and try again. After watching this video, I incorporated the other two that I didn’t know about into our daily routine (numbers 3 and 4 from above).
It Really Works!
It has helped her/us tremendously. Since I’ve started massaging her belly regularly she has only had to be walked around once to be resettled in the middle of the night. She’s only pooped a few times in the wee hours of the morning (when I wasn’t fully awake yet) and they were not preceded by painful squirms like before. Most of her eliminating is done during the day now. I am so glad.
Below is an informative video about infant massage and shows how to do some of the listed massage moves from above.
I also watched a video that shows reflexology for digestion points on babies’ feet. They mention rubbing these spots can help with constipation and getting the gas out of your baby’s tummy. Be forewarned though that this video might make you a bit dizzy or just plain annoyed because of all the shaky movement and flipping of the camera.
Further related reading: