Infant massage helps babies with weight gain and bonding

Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 6:03 PM CDT
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Most adults benefit from massages but did you know premature babies do too? According to the National Center for Health, about 14% of babies born in the United State are born premature. Valley News Live learned how infant massages are helping parents get their little one home faster.

"I guess the feet were the trick this time," said Alicia Schumacher.

Mother Alicia Schumacher has been massaging Baby Lyla about two times a day since she was born in late March.

"I love anything with attachment and bonding," explained Schumacher.

Schumacher started at Lyla's face and worked her way down to her legs.

"Until she was born we were not familiar with all the benefits of it," stated Schumacher.

"Weight gain, promote and strengthen their different organ systems, helps with sleep to develop their sleep routine and a lot of time preterm babies are unorganized coming out of the womb and it helps their behavior state," said Sanford Child Life Specialist, Michelle Finneman.

Finneman says there is numerous benefits of infant massage including bonding.

"I think sometimes it's just a mother's instinct," explained Finneman.

"She gets that good touch, sometimes in the NICU they are poking and prodding and sometimes they are doing tough things to her so it's good for her to learn to trust people in the touch too," said Schumacher.

Schumacher admits at first she was nervous about touching Lyla too hard, but soon figured it out.

"In the NICU they can't have a lot of touch right away so then once they are able to tolerate it you can make up for it this way," said Schumacher.

The infant massage study shows the premature babies given massage gained weight faster and also were discharged before the other babies in the study.