Perceptions and Experiences of Infant Massage among Caregivers of Infants 2-6 Months Old Consulting at Two Public Health Centers in Quezon City, Philippines, Before and After Infant Massage Training
Background. The benefits of infant massage in hospital and community settings have been documented in literature: better weight gain of preterm and low birthweight infants, shortened hospital stay, slightly better scores on developmental tests, fewer postnatal complications, and effects on physical and mental health.
Objectives. This study described the perceptions and experiences of infant massage among caregivers of infants 2-6 months old consulting in two public health centers in Quezon City before and after infant massage training.
Methods. This qualitative study assessed perceptions and experiences at baseline and after infant massage training of mothers and caregivers taking care of infants 2-6 months old. Pre-training interviews were conducted, as well as immediately after, and seven days after training on infant massage delivered by the Philippine League of Government and Private Midwives, Inc. (PLGPMI). Training consisted of lectures and demonstrations, after which mothers/caregivers gave their babies the massage under the trainer's supervision. Post-training interviews were conducted immediately after the training and seven days after. Responses to the interviews were transcribed. The transcripts and interview notes were analyzed independently by two research team members. Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA) was done. Disagreements were settled by discussion.
Results. The infant’s mother was identified as the best person to perform infant massage. Infant massage was a new concept to many participants before the training. In general, the perception was positive. It was believed to promote the baby's physical development and bonding with the mother/caregiver. These same benefits were reported after the training. Post-training, all 11 participants who returned for follow-up interviews reported having massaged their babies at home. They were also able to describe the process and timing of massage as taught to them. The participants’ responses centered on seven (7) identified themes, identified at baseline and after training: 1) general concepts of infant massage, 2) benefits of infant massage, 3) methodologies, materials, and considerations, 4) persons credible to perform infant massage, 5) application/performance of infant massage, 6) intentions and 7) infant massage as a public health measure.
Conclusion. There was a positive perception of infant massage among mothers and caregivers of infants 2-6 months old, whether or not they had prior knowledge. The sharing of information and the training given enhanced this. Participants showed good reception and retention of infant massage's basic concepts and process and improved their confidence in handling their babies and massaging them.