Infant massage “significantly” lowers new fathers’ stress, according to new research.

“Fathers may feel dissatisfied with their ability to form a close attachment with their infants in the early postpartum period, which, in turn, may increase their parent-related stress,” noted the investigators in an abstract published on “Our study sought to determine if an infant massage intervention assisted fathers with decreasing stress and increasing bonding with their infants during this time.”

To address the father-infant relationship, the investigators conducted a pilot study using a mixed methodology approach: Twelve infant-father dyads participated in the intervention, and 12 infant-father dyads populated a wait-list control group, the abstract noted. Paternal stress was measured using the Parenting Stress Index at baseline and at post-intervention.

“Infant massage instruction significantly decreased paternal stress,” said the investigators. “Our findings were also supported by the qualitative data and suggest fathers may benefit from applied postnatal education.”

“Supporting fathering through infant massage” is published in The Journal of Perinatal Education.

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