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What is Infant Massage?

Infant massage is a special way of touching and interacting with your baby. It involves gentle stroking, holding the baby in specific positions, and passive movements of the baby's arms and legs. This type of massage is designed to provide both physical and emotional benefits. It's a time for parents to slow down and focus solely on their baby, creating a strong bond through touch and communication.

Key Elements of Infant Massage

There are three main elements of infant massage: interaction, touch, and stimulation. Each plays a crucial role in the overall experience.


Infant massage is a beautiful form of interaction between a baby and their parents. It's a time for parents to tune into their baby's needs and cues. Through this process, parents learn to read their baby's signals and respond in a nurturing way. This interaction helps build a strong emotional connection, fostering trust and security.


The touch in infant massage can vary. It includes gentle stroking, holding the baby in a specific position, and passive movements of the baby's arms and legs. Each type of touch serves a different purpose. Gentle stroking can soothe and relax the baby, while holding in a specific position can provide comfort and security. Passive movements help with muscle development and coordination.


Often, infant massage is combined with other forms of stimulation, such as rocking the baby, talking or singing to the baby, and making eye contact. These additional forms of stimulation enhance the bonding experience and provide sensory input that is essential for the baby's development.

Techniques and Adaptations

Although "infant massage" suggests it's only for babies, Certified Infant Massage Instructors (CIMIs) and Pediatric Massage Consultants (PMCs) support parents in massaging children from newborns to adolescents. These professionals teach parents how to massage their children, adapting techniques as the child grows.

Techniques for Newborns

For a newborn, the "containment" hold is particularly soothing and calming, especially for low birthweight infants. This hold mimics the feeling of being in the womb, providing a sense of security and comfort. Gentle stroking and soft touches are also used to help newborns relax and feel safe.

Techniques for Older Babies and Children

As children grow, the massage techniques evolve to match their developmental stages. For older babies and toddlers, massage can include more active movements and playful interactions. Techniques that incorporate story time and massage and gentle stretching exercises help with muscle development and coordination. For school-aged children and adolescents, massage can help with relaxation, stress relief, and even sports recovery.

Benefits of Infant Massage

The benefits of infant massage are vast and varied, impacting both the baby and the parents. Here are some of the key benefits:

For Babies

  1. Improved Sleep Patterns: Regular massage can help babies sleep better and establish more consistent sleep patterns.
  2. Enhanced Digestion: Gentle abdominal massage can alleviate common digestive issues such as colic and constipation.
  3. Better Circulation: Massage stimulates blood flow, which can promote healthy growth and development.
  4. Boosted Immune System: Regular massage has been shown to strengthen the immune system, helping babies fight off illnesses.
  5. Sensory Development: The various touches and movements in massage provide essential sensory input that aids in neurological development.

For Parents

  1. Bonding: Massage is a special time for parents to connect with their baby, strengthening the emotional bond.
  2. Increased Confidence: Learning how to massage their baby gives parents a sense of confidence and competence in their caregiving abilities.
  3. Reduced Stress: The act of massaging their baby can be calming and stress-relieving for parents.
  4. Improved Communication: Parents learn to read and respond to their baby's cues, enhancing communication and understanding.

How to Get Started with Infant Massage

Getting started with infant massage is simple and can be done at home with the right guidance. Here are some steps to begin:

  1. Find a Comfortable Space: Choose a quiet, warm area where you and your baby can relax without distractions.
  2. Use a Gentle Product: Select a mild product that is safe for your baby's delicate skin. Test a small amount on your baby's skin to ensure there is no allergic reaction.
  3. Start with Short Sessions: Begin with short massage sessions, gradually increasing the duration as your baby becomes more accustomed to the experience.
  4. Follow Your Baby's Cues: Pay attention to your baby's responses. If your baby seems uncomfortable or fussy, stop the massage and try again later.
  5. Seek Professional Guidance: Consider taking a class with a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) or Pediatric Massage Consultant (PMC) to learn proper techniques and get personalised advice.

Choosing the Right Professional

When seeking professional guidance, it's important to choose someone who is certified and experienced. Certified Infant Massage Instructors (CIMIs) and Pediatric Massage Consultants (PMCs) have undergone extensive training and are equipped to teach parents how to safely and effectively massage their babies. They can provide personalised instruction and support, ensuring that both you and your baby have a positive experience.


Infant massage is a powerful tool for bonding, relaxation, and development. By incorporating gentle touch, interaction, and stimulation, parents can create a nurturing environment that supports their baby's growth and well-being. Whether you're a new parent or have older children, learning the techniques of infant massage can enhance your parenting journey and provide lasting benefits for your family.

For more information on infant massage, or to find a Certified Infant Massage Instructor or Pediatric Massage Consultant near you, contact the Infant Massage Information Service.