15 Effective Ways to Soothe an Upset Baby
When your little one cries, baby reflexology can come to the rescue. It’s a massage technique based on the connection of body organs to certain points on the feet and palms. By applying pressure to them, you can soothe your child when they have colic or constipation. By the way, baby feet are easier to massage because they’re flat. Children develop arches only at the age of 2 or 3 when they start walking on their own.
We at Bright Side has familiarized ourselves with an infant reflexology chart and offer you the chance to learn about a simple and safe way to calm down your child. Don’t miss our bonus at the end of the article!
1. Head and teeth
On a reflexology map, the head and teeth areas are connected with the toes. Massaging them may soothe teething pain. To do this, gently hold your baby’s foot, and massage each toe tip with circular motions, slightly squeezing them. Repeat on the other foot.
You can also try massaging the area under the toes by gently pressing on it.
The centers of each toe are connected with the sinuses. You can use these points to ease a stuffy or running nose. Simply hold your baby’s foot with one hand, use your index finger and thumb of the other hand to grab a toe, and massage the point with tender circular motions using your thumb. Repeat for the other foot.
Chest congestion can be reduced by massaging the balls of the feet — the reflex area responsible for the lungs. Massage one foot at a time. Try rubbing them by drawing spirals from left to right. One more way is to use gentle pressure, like “stepping” with your fingers from the bottom to the top of the area.
4. Solar plexus
The reflex area related to the solar plexus — the “intersection” of many nerves — is located under the balls of the feet, right in the middle. Massaging it may help to relieve an upset tummy. Take both feet into your hands, put your thumbs on the points, and start moving them in small circles.
5. Upper abdomen
Massaging the center of the feet may help to get rid of bowel issues like constipation and indigestion. You need to massage the feet one at a time, but it’s better to hold both at the same time. Start with the left one. Put your finger on the bottom left side of the lower abdomen area. Gently pressing, move it to the top of the upper abdomen area. Then move right until you reach the edge of the foot. Continue moving left to right on the other foot at the same level. Then move down to the lower abdomen area.
6. Lower abdomen
The lower abdomen area will come in handy if your baby has bloating or constipation. You can try rubbing it or drawing spirals and circles.
Massaging this area may relieve some pelvis and tummy issues like colic. You can try a pelvic hold: hold your baby’s heels in your hands, following their movements. Another thing you can try is gently massaging the heels, moving from the bottom to the top of the area.
According to the National Health Institute, reflexology can also provide sound sleep and minimize pain and anxiety. Remember that baby feet demand the most gentle pressure. Massage one area for a minute or 2. If your baby protests, give it another try a little bit later.
Though reflexology is basically massage and is considered safe, it’s always better to consult your doctor before trying it with your baby — just to be on the safe side. And don’t forget that it shouldn’t be a substitute for any treatment prescribed by your doctor.
Palm pressure points to massage
Acupressure can provide relief to your child that is no worse than the other remedies we mentioned above. Simply massage the point you need, depending on the problem, applying gentle pressure with circular motions.
- If your baby has stomach issues or a cough, hold their hand and massage the center of the palm, drawing circles with your thumb.
- When hiccups or vomiting are the problem, try massaging the tip of the thumb. Here, as with all the fingers, you should apply light pressure and circular motions, but stick to one point instead of “drawing” wider circles.
- You can treat pink eye by massaging the tip of the index finger..
- If the baby has a fever, massage the tip of the middle finger.
- To treat a cough and other upper respiratory issues, massage the ring finger.
- To provide relief to a teething baby, massage the tip of the little finger and a certain point on the wrist — it’s located in the middle right under the palm.
- Use gentle upward strokes on the little finger if you noticed that a child wets their bed.
- Go for upward strokes on the index finger if your baby has diarrhea, and move downwards to treat constipation.
You can also use this massaging technique as a preventive cure — simply add it to your usual baby massage routine. But remember that it’s only a supplementary treatment, and should never replace an appointment with a specialist.
Keep in mind that whatever massaging technique you are using, it’s important that you apply no amount of force or pressure. As long as the baby looks happy, you can continue massaging them, and you need to stop if the baby appears uncomfortable.
Bonus: A soothing baby hold.
This unusual technique by Dr. Robert Hamilton can save you time in your attempts to calm your baby. The idea is to “swaddle” the little one with your arms and rock them this way. It’s very simple and every parent can try it.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Place the baby’s arms on the chest one over the other and hold both arms with your hand while supporting the head.
- Lean the little one forward at an angle of 45° and use your other hand to hold the baby’s bottom.
- Rock your arms in a gentle manner so that the baby calms down.
The only drawback of this method is that babies after the age of 3 months become too heavy to hold like this.
Would you like to try reflexology or acupressure with your little one? Or maybe you already practice them? Share your stories and thoughts in the comment section below!
Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova for BrightSide.me