Simple Solutions for Babies Struggling with Wind
Imagine you are lying in bed after enjoying a nice big meal and feel a fullness in your tummy.
Time passes and you become more and more uncomfortable, pressure building from the excess gas in your digestive system.
You roll over and feel the wind shift.
Be honest, how many times have you rolled over in bed and farted!?
Now consider your newborn baby's ability to do the same thing.
At best, they can wave their arms about, kick their legs, scrunch their knees up to their tummy, grunt and wail in pain.
They lack the physical skills to shift their own wind.
Human babies are immature, immobile and helpless.
This is where you come in.
It is possible that all they need is a bit of MOVEMENT.
Lets take a look at where the air might be getting trapped.
There are many different winding techniques, but my favourite has to be the simplest of all - Wonky Winding. This technique considers the physiology of the stomach and with one simple tilt, has the power to release a burp!
This graphic shows the view from behind the baby as they face the parent.
Hold your baby facing you and tilt them to their left.
This will be towards your right shoulder.
This tilt allows any air trapped in the pocket at the top of the stomach the opportunity to escape.
You may find gently bouncing your baby on your knee helps them, patting or rubbing their back whilst they are held up over your shoulder, rocking them backwards and forwards in an upright sitting position. Swaying them side to side or round in a circular movement may help too. These techniques all put pressure on any trapped wind, squeezing it through movement and helping it on it's way towards an exit.
But what if I told you that not all cultures wind their babies?
And that those who don't think we are a little bit strange for doing it!
Again this all comes down to simple movement.
In cultures where it is the norm to carry your baby all day in a sling, babies move around with their parent. Wind is naturally dislodged and there is no need for specific techniques.
In contrast, western culture often see's our babies put down after feeding (and winding), laid flat or propped in chairs. As time passes and digestion occurs, gas bubbles move and at certain points become stuck, causing discomfort and in the baby's fixed position they are unable to do anything about it.
Sometimes we see a baby become unsettled during their massage in class. Mum or dad respond by stopping the massage and listening to their baby's cues. They may be unsure of the reason, but see and hear that their baby needs something else.
They pause and observe their baby.
The fussiness continues so they pick their baby up, maybe they place them on their lap.
And guess what we all hear?
That change of position was all that was needed!
The tummy massage routine can also help, as it physically moves trapped wind (and more!) around, following the direction and flow of the large intestine, helping everything move around and out.
The 'colic' massage is said to stimulate the bowel to work more efficiently, when done regularly.
That, coupled with the relaxation benefits of the massage on any part of the body, are a winning combination for wind relief, as the whole body not only relaxes, but also moves towards optimum functioning.
So if your baby is struggling with wind, consider how much movement they are experiencing.
Try varying their position:
From laid down to upright,
Upright to tilted,
Roll them on their side and back
Try bicycle legs
Or a tummy massage.
If you haven't already, try a baby carrier or sling, the benefits of which go far beyond just wind relief. Check out your local sling library to try some diffrent styles and see what works for you.
The good news is that babies grow and develop very quickly. They become more mobile and are able to, in effect, naturally move their own wind, growing out of the need to be winded after feeding.
In the mean time, try the simple ideas I have shared and let me know if you notice a difference!
There are many causes of excess wind, and we talk about this in detail during my Baby Massage course, the details of which can be found here.
If your baby continues to have issues, there may be more going on, so please seek additional advice and support from your health professional.