July 30, 2009

Infant Massage Enhances Bonding Between Mum And Child

July 29, 2009 11:55 AM

By Nurul Halawati Azhari

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 (Bernama)-- Child specialists have acknowledged that breast-feeding enhances the bonding between mother and child.

It is a well known fact that infants who were exclusively breastfed for six months were not only able to obtain adequate nutrients and enhanced immunity against diseases, but also a high intelligence quotient (IQ).

However apart from the mother's milk, there is another way to stimulate and promote a baby's growth. The answer is by massaging the infant.

According to studies, massaging increases the development of an infant's bones by 15 per cent. Frequent massages is the secret to boost development of an infant's motor skills.

Infant massage helps the development of the infant's muscles and orientation, factors that are crucial towards assisting the child to stand and walk.

Consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail said infant massage helps a baby born prematured to gain weight by 47 per cent at a faster rate while those born normally would have lower stress and enhanced immunity against diseases.

Dr Zulkifli told Bernama this after the "Touch" child massage workshop organised by Johnson & Johnson Sdn Bhd here recently.

"Caressing is a magical touch between a parent and the child. For example if the mother caresses and massages to soothe the infant, the infant can feel and sense the mother's affections via her fingers and this works the otherway round.

"The mother can also feel the infant's response via the touches," he said.


Dr Zulkifli said most parents were concerned that too much pressure exerted during a massage would cause injuries to the child.

If parents wished to start a massage on their child, they should begin with gentle touches first, he said.

"Pressure can then be gradually but slowly increased when the mother is getting more confident and the child appears to be comfortable with the touches", said Dr Zulkifli.

Apart from enhancing the mother and child bonding, infant massage could also enhances the child's physical and emotional development. The child gets more confidence apart from feeling comfortable and calm.

The child could also sleep better, he said.

Massaging the infant also helps the child's disgestion, hence a massaged infant would be able to absorb the essential nutrients better.

"During the caressing and massaging, both the parent and child would have eye contact and this enhances interaction and relation between both.

However in order to perform the massage, the mother should have the child's 'cooperation', Dr Zulkifli cautioned.

He said if the infant felt tired, then the child should be allowed to rest and sleep and the massage can be continued after the child has rested.


1.You should not be in haste. Your fingernails should be trim and you should not be distracted for 15 minutes. Play slow music to soothe your nerves and and also of the child.

2.The temperature of the room shoukd be comfortable. Spread out a soft blanket for the baby to lie down.

3.A good massage can be ideally done after the infant's bath and yet to be clothed. However a massage can still be given to a clothed child.

4.Infant oil should be used as this lessen the friction on the baby's skin. Rub both palms first before touching the baby. The oil should be well spread on both palms as this allows smoother massage.

5.Begin with gentle touches. Grdually and slowly exert more pressure when you are more confident and the child feels more comfortable.

6.Look into the baby's eyes and sing or speak to the infant during the massage.

7.Perform the massage daily to enable the child to 'feel' it as a daily routine.

8.Begin from the child's head and move downwards to the feet before proceeding to the baby's back.


Apart from imparting the expert's knowledge and skills on child massage, the one-day workshop also provide tips for mothers as well as the expecting mothers on the ideal way to breastfeed and bathe the infant.

A similar workshop was held last year and the warm response showed by parents indicated that the public is now more aware on the correct technique to massage a child.

The workshop would be be held on the weekend in July and August in Selangor, Sabah, Melaka, Johor, Perak, Pulau Pinang and Kuala Lumpur. Further information is available by calling 1-300-88-0566 (Monday to Friday at 9am-5pm).