Infant Massage

The following information on the benefits of infant massage has been provided with permission by the International Association of Infant Massage for family’s living with Infant Gastric Reflux.

The four main benefits were originally defined by IAIM founder, Vimala McClure.



  • Digestive system
  • Circulatory system
  • Lymphatic system
  • Immune system
  • Nervous system
  • Brain development
  • Muscular development and tone
  • Growth
  • Hormonal system
  • Skin stimulation
  • Body awareness


  • Excess mucus
  • Teething
  • Sinus congestion
  • Wind/Gas/Colic
  • Constipation
  • Digestive pains (Including Gastric Reflux GORD)
  • Muscular tension
  • Disorganisation
  • Sensitivity to touch


  • Increased deep sleep
  • Regulation of behavioural states
  • Lowering high muscular tones
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduction of stress levels
  • Higher tolerance to touch
  • Higher levels of oxytocin
  • Enjoyable positive “time out”
  • Less hyper – activity
  • Less hyper – sensitivity
  • Increased environmental coping mechanisms


  • Better understanding of baby
  • Reading individual cues
  • Secure attachment
  • Promotion of bonding
  • Verbal/non verbal communication
  • One to one quality time
  • Undivided attention
  • Pre-language communication skills
  • Nurturing touch
  • Eye contact, talking, singing, smelling
  • Respect
  • Influence of calming hormones



  • Gives parents permission to touch (that is not sexual or “sissy or abusive.)
  • Helps parents to fall in love with their baby.
  • Quality time. Time to connect.
  • Develops intimate communication.
  • Teaches nurturing parenting skills.
  • Gives a greater awareness of baby’s physical, mental and emotional needs.
  • Increases parents’ confidence, competence and self esteem.
  • Develops bonding/attachment.
  • Allows for fathers involvement. Dads are wanting to do the nurturing today. Baby will tell his story during massage and Dad’s can play an important role by simply “listening”.
  • Massage can involve the whole family unit. The second sibling can also learning to massage and to bond with the new baby which can help prevent any jealousy between siblings.
  • Postnatal depression (also known as Postnatal distress disorder). We can encourage mother to stay in bed for three days with baby. Mother needs some support. She may be very depressed, and possibly father may be resentful of mother’s depression. There needs to be an understanding these to emotions. If this is not faced, it will affect the baby. If the father learns to massage baby, this produces the hormone prolactin in the father, which can help him become a more nurturing parent.
  • In many cases, massage has helped to improve the parent relationship. This allows more time together to nurture each other. There are huge adjustments to make when a baby arrives on the scene. We are not educated for marriage, let alone parenting!
  • If father is made to be part of massage from the beginning, this aids and supports the family unit.
  • Can prevent disintegration of the family unit.
  • Massage brings about a subtle awareness of baby’s cues and cries.
    Communication skills and bonding deepen through the art of massage, because of the eye to eye contact, the nurturing touch, the gentleness of the voice, and through learning to listen to each other.
    What is the result? – Fun, pleasure, relaxation, peace and tranquility.
    Spiritual connection. Through learning to tune in on different levels, baby will have a sense of being loved, nurtured and wanted and parent will want to continue to offer their love to their vulnerable little angel.


  • Premature baby under 1000 gms – can use holding techniques
  • Fever about 101° F or 38.3° C
  • Heart disease – greater demands on heart
  • Umbilicus unhealed
  • Systemic infections – chicken pox
  • Skin infections
  • Cancer or undiagnosed lumps
  • Fracture, bleeding, burns or other acute injury
  • Kidney disease
  • Adaptations for special needs babies
  • Jaundice
  • Recent surgery – can use holding techniques
  • Most important of all is, “WHEN BABY SAYS NO”.

IAIM – Promoting better beginnings. For further information and training please contact: Peggy Dawson P.O. Box 33997 Takapuna, Auckland. Copyright belongs to International Association of Infant Massage.

Related material

  • An intricate dance – The loving relationship between IAIM
  • May I touch you? By Emma Miller, North Carolina, U.S.A.
  • Article Health visitor run baby massage classes: investigating the effects.3
    Community Practitioner volume 76 April 2003 Number 4

For copies please contact GRSNNZ or IAIM

Collected for GRSNNZ by Jennifer Howard, National Coordinator for Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust January 2006. Used with permission.

This page may be printed for the personal use of families, as long as the copyright and source (i.e. Crying Over Spilt Milk’s URL) is also printed. It may not be copied to other websites or publications without permission from IAIM.

  • We hit 3000 Facebook Page likes yesterday, but I'm not sure if Susannah Taylor or Kelly Dunlea was the 3000th like. We would like to send you both a little something when our supplies arrive in a couple of weeks. Kellly, I already have your address. Susannah, can you please message me yours? If someone knows Susannah can you please let her know? Wahoo, what a milestone!

  • There is also some recent medical research out along the same lines. I'll post the review article in the comments. Skip to the last page and the take home messages to decide if you want to read it. <a href="; rel="nofollow"></a&gt;

    Bath time is a lovely, splashy affair for little ones and a comforting signal to parents that bedtime is not too far away, and now research shows just how

  • And another one from Postnatal Depression Awareness Week. Sorry, that I'm a few weeks behind on my emails, but at least the information is still relevant: <a href="; rel="nofollow"></a&gt;">

  • <a href="; rel="nofollow"></a&gt;. - htm - sorry, I think I may have missed the week.

    The most risky time to become mentally unwell is after having a baby. Thirteen per cent of women in New Zealand suffer from Postnatal Depression with 20% suffering from anxiety during and after pregnancy*. Postnatal Depression Awareness Week is ...

  • Sorry for the long post but in desperate need of advice from people with experience. My baby girl is 10wks old today and from 1.5weeks old been medicated for reflux, first just Gaviscon, then added Rhanitadine. Doc upped the dose until we were on the max dose and it still didnt make a difference so doc switched to Omeprazole liquid, upping the dose every couple of weeks and still doing Gaviscon. Baby is still super uncomfortable, spilling (more like vomiting out of nose and mouth and it keeps going like she is vomiting not a 'normal' spill, freaks her out big time) after almost every feed (before we started meds it was after every feed, so have seen some improvement) and i can smell the acidity. She has diarrhea quite often and have had blood in her stools 3-4 times. Doc said today that shes out of ideas :-( She did prescribed us Pepti Junior to try and dropped Omeprazole to once a day. My baby is so tired, she wants to sleep but keeps wriggling and grizzling, just cant get comfortable so would really appreciate advice. We do all the usual stuff like having her elevated etc. *Reposting as had to delete other post to edit :-)

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared Motivational and Inspirational Quotes's photo.

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared Inspiring and Positive Quotes's photo.

    Thank you to all those strong parents out there who help out in this page!

    Inspiring and Positive Quotes <3

  • My baby is 7 weeks . she has low weight gain and doesn't feed well and has &quot;silent&quot; reflux. She is very gassy as She is currently on karicare gold + and lady from peads has suggested I try normal karicare infant and see how she goes till she sees us. But I've done some research and reviews are saying aptamil gold HA . any advice suggestions? I'm going to use gaviscon in the mean time .

  • can i post a question, why does nobody seem to answer reflux questions. Why can't the doctors help the mothers? my baby is 5 months old, we have run every possible test, gone through a lot. He does not sleep at night, wakes up 5 times. on the best most expensive milk. He is eating. Still wakes up. I don't understand, i cant go on like this, i look like a Zombie. make mistakes because i am so tired. gone to a Chiro, tested kidneys, the list is just never ending, seen several Peads. no luck. Surely in this day and age somebody out there knows what to do with reflux babies, seems every second mom i meet, has a reflux baby with no answers. And dont tell me it will get better, when, i need sleep.

  • Hey ladies. How do i know if my baby has reflux??? What are the signs?? My little girl (4weeks) spills quite often but not too often..? She just doesn't sleep in the day? Literally all day... Unless being held and up right.. Doesn't sleep well at night either unless up right on my chest? Hellllp. Shes breastfed.

  • For anyone who was confused by the information given on the news last night, this came through in my emails today: <a href="; rel="nofollow"></a&gt; so direct from the Ministry of Health rather than the media's interpretation.

  • There is a new question about sleep by Stephanie to the page. Does anyone want to share their experiences and help her out? Have a look at her question.

  • Hi :) can anyone please tell me their experiences with sleep training a reflux baby/teaching bub to self soothe?

  • The Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ's newsletter was out yesterday. There is some information in it about the BreastFedNZ app and also about how to join your Support Networks. If you are not a member and would like to receive the newsletter or have access to a Local Support Network or a Network for support on Feeding issues, Laryngomalacia or EGID / EoE, please complete a membership form: <a href="; rel="nofollow"></a&gt;

    Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ for Parents of Infants & Children Charitable Trust Membership & Confidentiality Agreement Form First Name: Last Name: Email Address: Street Address: City/Town: Area: Auckland Canterbury Gisborne Hawkes Bay Marlborough Nelson Northland Otago Southland Taranaki...

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ shared Judy Arnold - Infant and child Consultant's photo.

    Judy is having a question and answer session today?? Head over to her page.

    It must be time for another question and answer time. Tomorrow afternoon 1 pm-2.30 pm. This is your opportunity to ask me questions. Spread the word,,,

  • Vikky Wintersgill-Taylor I used this page hundreds of times for help ya might get some tips x

  • Questions, questions...more people have posted questions on our page. Help me out and share your experiences. :-)

  • Does anyone with a baby with silent reflux use infacol as well as rhuger? I used rhuger for my first child but doesn't seem to be helping as much woth number 2 I just like that was its natural, rhuger has helped a bit but he's spilling up more now for some reason (10weeks old) advise appreciated ☺

  • Hi guys how do you feed your reflux babies? Do you find it best to let the baby drink the milk in 2-3 goes or do you find it best to have larger 20 minutes breaks?

  • Gastric Reflux Support Network NZ looking for answers.

    Hi everyone - there are more questions to the page that you might be able to share your experience around.

  • Hi. Have a question for any parents who have used zantac to control silent reflux. Baby is responding really well to it but almost 3 weeks in it seems to be causing a bit if constipation. Have just started using coloxyl drops for that but I suspect it is making the reflux worse , has anyone noticed this with these two medications ? And are there any alternatives that you have found work well for constipation ? Baby is 8 weeks old . Thanks in advance 😊

  • Hi all. My lil(literally) 9 weeks old bubba born 2.1kgs at 37 weeks *iugr baby* has been diagnosed with GORD and has cyanotic/apnea episodes from it. He is on omeprazole, gaviscon and pepti junior but all these doesnt seem to help much and he still has these cyanotic episodes randomly (awake or asleep). He was admitted to the kids ward at waitakere hospital when he was 2 weeks old. Hubs and i resorted in taking turns in staying up taking care of him at night as he needs constant supervision. These episodes happen very silently and randomly so we dont know when it will happen or when it happens.. We also have 2 older toddlers.. anyway anyone else went through/going through the same thing? Should we bring bubs back to his gp? how do you get seen by a specialist?

  • ... And more posts to the page. :-)

  • Hi there, does anyone have experience/success with getting their baby allergy tested? I went to a herbalist on recommendation of a friend. He tested me for intolerances and as a result I am now on a strict dairy/gluten/yeast/egg/soy and corn free diet ($430 poorer and starving...the herbs have done nothing). I've been dairy and gluten free since miss 3 months was diagnosed with GERD at 3 weeks but I'm sure there is more to it as her poos are full of mucous and she is still in pain dispite being medicated. Any suggestions? :)

  • What is someone called who specialises in GERD? What kind of specialist are they? I think it's time for us to delve further into this issue that my 3.5 year old is dealing with. Recommendations appreciated. We are CHCH based. :) Will obviously go through my GP but nice to know if there is anyone in particular who is great? Thanks in advance!