Infant massage and positive effects on both mother and child: study

A study involving mothers who have HIV has found positive outcomes for both themselves and their babies as a result of doing infant massage on their babies.

The participants consisted of 17 mothers, with 8 mothers being part of the group who were taught infant massage with the remaining 9 being assigned to the control group. Infants ranged in age from 5 to 10 weeks of age.

The mothers in the intervention group were taught infant massage strokes and information about various infant behavioural cues, interpreting the different cries of their babies as well as information about the benefits of massage for both mother and baby.

Mothers were asked to massage their babies daily for 10 weeks. Participants were then asked to complete a series of questionnaires about their levels of depression, parental stress and physical contact. Infants were measured and weighed.

Significant differences were found between the intervention and control groups regarding the level of depression in the mothers, feelings of stress and maternal confidence, which all pointed towards the positive effects of infant massage. Furthermore, the babies whose mothers were trained in infant massage were significantly heavier and longer at the end of the 10 weeks than those in the control group.


Oswalt, K. & Biasini, F. (2011). Effects of infant massage on HIV-infected mothers and their infants. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 16 (2011), 169–178.