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Keywords

global health, infant, massage

 

Authors

  1. Serrano, Maria Sylvia Campos MSc, CNM
  2. Doren, Francisca Marquez MSc, CNM
  3. Wilson, Lynda PhD, RN, FAAN

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of massage on infant weight gain and exclusive maternal breast-feeding of an intervention that involved teaching mothers to massage their full-term infants. The sample included 100 healthy newborn infants who were receiving primary healthcare at 3 health centers in a low-income neighborhood of Santiago, Chile. The control group included 65 infants and the massage group included 35 infants. During their second well-child clinic visit, clinic nurses provided instruction to massage-group mothers about how to massage their infants, based on the methods of the Baby's First Massage program (http://www.babysfirstmassage.com/Scripts/default.asp). Mothers were encouraged to massage their infants for 10 to 15 minutes at least once a day, starting when their infants were 15 days old. There was no difference in the mean weights of the infants between the massage and control groups at baseline, but at age 2 months, massage group infants weighed significantly more than control-group infants. There were no weight differences between the 2 groups at age 4 months. There were no differences between the 2 groups on the incidence of exclusive maternal breast-feeding at age 2 or 4 months. The findings suggest that teaching mothers to massage their newborn infants may have a beneficial effect on the infant's early weight gain. There is a need for additional studies to evaluate the effect of maternal massage on other health and welfare outcomes for both mothers and infants.