Infant massage improves mental health and bonding for mom and baby!

Normal soothing and playful touch help forge your relationship with your baby Istock/KellyRichardsonPhotography

Normal soothing and playful touch help forge your relationship with your baby
Istock/KellyRichardsonPhotography

Infant massage is a great way to create an oasis of calm time with your baby. It helps promote bonding and calm both mom and baby. Studies show that infant massage decreases stress hormones (in both Mom & baby), reduces colic and GI symptoms, relieves muscle pains and assists recovery for preemies (Onozawa et al, 2001; Field et al, 1996). It is win-win!

The postpartum period of a woman’s life is a unique time of life. You want to create a solid emotional bond with your baby right from the beginning. You are learning every day what it is to be a parent. You may be experiencing extreme exhaustion from lack of sleep and emotional highs and lows, exacerbated by lack of sleep. So many decisions and so many things to come to terms with!

Maybe you’re concerned you are not bonding with your infant. Some people mistakenly believe that human bonding occurs with sort of a single, initial, imprinting. LOL, we are not ducks! Human bonding takes place over time, and develops with daily access to a responsive primary caregiver. Bonding is not a virtual experience!

Bonding is a body-based, biological and emotional experience involving touching, seeing, smelling the primary caregiver on a consistent basis. Infant massage is a wonderful way to have some calm bonding time with baby!

Infant massage is good for both mom & baby’s mood. It is easy to learn; there are usually classes in local hospitals and yoga studios. Shakti- Yoga Studio in Madison, NJ offers an infant massage class periodically. For a lovely DVD on infant massage check out Massage Practice for Infants and Infant Massage: The Power of Touch.

Good luck in your parenting journey!!

Remember, if you are feeling very depressed and anxious over a period of several weeks, practice self-care and see your local doctor and therapist today. Postpartum Support International has volunteers in every state who can help you with resources.

References

Field T, Grizzle N, Scafidi F, Abrams S, Richardson S. Massage therapy for infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behav Dev 1996;19:107-112.

Onozawa K, Glover V, Adams D, Modi N, Kumar RC. Infant massage improves mother-infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression. J Affect Disord 2001;63:201-207.

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