• Colic Guru

Stretches for stiff and tense babies

Many babies that are born by C-section are what we call 'stuck in flexion'. In other words, they are still slightly curled up in the foetal position (knees to chest) and don't straighten their legs very easily. Traumatic births and position in the womb can also result in muscular or spinal imbalance.

Apart from muscular stiffness, this can contribute to gas build up in the intestinal area and often makes these babies a little harder to burp. a few stretch sessions can make a big difference.

  • do each of the 5 exercises for about 1 minute each

  • they must be relaxed and not cramping, crying, etc

  • don't force anything!

  • if they don't seem to like an exercise, move on to the next one and try again later

  • do them daily to help ease tension and relax your baby

Overview: Entire routine... see individual stretches below

1. Hip stretch

The first exercise is to ease tension in the hip flexor and pelvic muscles. Simply stretch right knee toward left armpit and left knee toward right armpit.

2. Baby arch

This exercise attempts to loosen the low back and abdominal muscles. It may be difficult if they are very tight so don't rush or force it. Rather just let the weight of their little body do the work. If they cramp up, stop, let them relax then start again.

3. Sideways arch

The next exercise is similar to the baby arch except that you have them on their sides. Try and stretch each side for 30 seconds or so.

4. Spine align

With your baby face down, massage up and down the length of their spine, with a gentle downward pressure. The goal is to slightly raise their legs upwards while you do this.

5. Neck stretch

This very gentle exercise helps to ease any tension in the neck and upper back muscles. Some babies may not be as comfortable turning their head to one side or the other. This is usually due to muscular tension that will disappear in a few weeks. If the problem does not resolve, you may want to consult a chiropractor who specializes in babies.