Kids massage can not only be used to calm kids, but also to soothe their sicknesses. In Peter Walker’s Developmental Baby Massage: Therapeutic Touch Techniques for Making Your Baby Stronger, Healthier, and Happier, he dedicates an entire chapter to therapeutic touch for sickness and additional needs. Babies with their delicate immune systems are frequently coming down with colds and congestion. Here are a few techniques that can beautifully supplement the treatment prescribed by your kid’s health professional.
Coughs, Cold and Congestion
A young baby will only breathe through his mouth when his nostrils are completely blocked with mucus. In the daytime, this may not cause too much of a problem, but at night it can prove to be a major source of discomfort. When your baby sleeps, his breathing rhythm becomes slower and deeper and if his nostrils are congested, he will gasp for air and awake with a start. This can be quite disruptive, particularly if your baby has already established a sleeping routine.
If your baby is congested, place him in a more upright position when he is sleeping. You can do this by raising one end of his cot by securely placing a book or telephone directory underneath—don’t let your baby sleep on a pillow. And avoid giving him mucus-making foods, such as dairy products.
These techniques will show you how to relieve nostril and chest congestion, but they are not meant as a substitute for a professional diagnosis and treatment, rather as an aid to your baby’s recovery. You may want to try the technique for freeing blocked nostrils on yourself first before using it on your baby.
Freeing Blocked Nostrils:
- Sit on the floor with your back resting against a wall and your knees raised. Put your baby on your lap so that he is facing you.
- Gently press your index fingertips into each side of your baby’s nostrils and draw the nostrils open by pressing gently downwards and outwards under the cheekbones. Repeat 4–5 times.
Easing Chest Congestion:
- Kneel on a cushion with your baby sitting on your lap facing you. Open your baby’s legs around your waist and let her lay back over your thighs.
- Using the relaxed weight of your cupped hands, pat all around the center, and then the sides, of your baby’s chest. Continue for about half a minute.
- Now, place your baby on your thighs so she lays forwards on her belly and, using the relaxed weight of your cupped hands, pat all around her back and sides. If your baby is heavily congested, she may vomit slightly following this percussion movement, as the bronchial tubes compress and expel the mucus. Continue for about half a minute.
Note: Some essential oils, such as eucalyptus and lavender, are recommended for clearing the sinuses. Mix 2–3 drops into your base oil. Do not use essential oils for babies under 10 weeks. Eucalyptus will cancel any benefits of homeopathic treatment.
Softening the Belly:
- Lay your baby on the floor and, using the relaxed weight of your whole hand, massage hand-overhand down the right side of his abdomen, from between the hip and the lower rib across to below the navel. Continue for 2–3 minutes and then repeat on the left side of your baby’s abdomen.
- Cup your hand and place it horizontally across your baby’s belly. Squeeze gently and knead the belly from side to side. Don’t push downwards or your baby will resist and tense up. Keep it gentle and playful, so that his belly softens. Continue for about 20 seconds.
- Now, using the relaxed weight of your cupped hand, massage your baby’s belly with your hand and the tummy moving in a circular motion clockwise from your left to your right. Repeat 4–5 times.
Note: If your baby is suffering from wind, colic or constipation, consult your doctor to rule out the possibility that your baby is allergic to something in his diet or, if you are breastfeeding, something in yours. If your baby has started on solids, try giving him pureed papaya fruit, which contains enzymes to aid his digestion.