When teaching infant massage I believe that for a parent the colic routine can be one of the most empowering elements of the course. To have a baby that cries for long periods on daily basis with no obvious reason can be completely exhausting for anybody. A parent can also feel an immense sense of frustration and sadness that feel they cannot do anything to help their baby. It is a feeling of helplessness and hoping it will soon pass and hope that their baby is not suffering too much. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between Colic, Gas and generally being unsettled but I believe that to learn something very specific such as the colic routine can give parents a clear and special way to help their babies as much as possible. In the early days communication between parents and baby is developing every day and any form of touch and one to one time will help the communication grow and help parents to understand what their baby is trying to tell them.
I would always discuss as group the symptoms of colic and gas but never suggesting a diagnosis. Although it is called the colic routine and designed specifically for colicky babies I would always encourage parents to use the routine on babies showing any signs of colic. This will enable to them to help relieve the symptoms of the colic or gas, as well as helping any other problems such as constipation. Parents may feel empowered that they are helping their baby with pain and discomfort and ultimately helping them to feel settled. Of course there are all the other lovely benefits of massage too that both parents and baby will benefit from even if when the colic routine is being carried out independently of any of the other infant massage strokes. Benefits such as the bonding, the release of oxytocin and quality one to one time between parent and child will all take place as this time, Also the this will encourage positive touch between a parent and infant and help to strengthen a bond and communication will subtly improve each and every time this closeness is carried out. When communication is established a parent can much more easily and quickly meet the needs of a baby and this will help a baby feel safe and secure, resulting in a parent and baby feeling more relaxed and content.
As part of the five week course the colic routine if officially taught in week two. I would always bring this forward to week one if it was evident there was a baby in the group who was suffering from colic symptoms and the parent could benefit from learning the routine as soon as possible. I had a mother and baby on my group once and very early on in in the first session it became clear she was struggling with her baby during the afternoons and evenings and she believed he had Colic. She had no idea how to help him. I explained to the group I would like to teach the colic routine earlier than planned and they all agreed. After the break I taught the colic routine and gave the handouts as a reminder. The mum and baby it was aimed at stayed after the session so I could go over it again and she then carried it the routine over the following week. I then refreshed on it again to the group during week two as planned. The mum was so happy she had a clear way of helping her son and felt it had really improved his symptoms.