Infant massage bonds babies with parents, caregivers

Research has shown that infant massage may attribute to a decrease in post-partum depression experienced by some new moms as well. Photo by U.S. Army Public Affairs.

By IMCOM Europe Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation
Updated by Holly DeCarlo-White, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Infant massage classes are offered to parents through Army Community Service’s New Parent Support Program at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. Infant massage techniques are said to increase parent and infant bonding, provide relief from various infant ailments, and promote relaxation for babies.

“Infant massage encourages a good relationship between parents and baby by supporting verbal and non-verbal communication and prolonged eye contact,” said Registered Nurse Lisa Phelps, infant massage instructor, USAG Stuttgart New Parent Support Program. “It helps parents learn the ongoing process of bonding.”

Phelps offers the class free of charge to ID cardholders on a regular basis with Occupational and Physical Therapist Kirsten Sippel-Klug, Educational and Developmental Intervention Services (EDIS), on Panzer Kaserne. The duo also schedule in-home visits by appointment for new parents.

“Kirsten and I teach as an interdisciplinary team to give one on one support after the class, to answer all questions parents may have about family, parenting or their infant as a whole child,” Phelps said.

“Infant massage also provides an activity that promotes overall development,” added Sippel-Klug. “The first phase of learning that humans go through is the sensorimotor stage.  During this initial period of life, babies are learning about the world through movement and though their five different sensory systems. So, infant massage is the perfect activity to promote all five areas of development (emotional, physical, cognitive, language and self-regulation/self-help).”

Overall, the Army’s Family Advocacy Program is dedicated to the prevention, education, prompt reporting, investigation, intervention and treatment of spouse and child abuse. The program provides a variety of services to service members and families to enhance their relationship skills and improve their quality of life. This mission is accomplished through various groups, seminars, workshops and counseling and intervention services.

For the full schedule of infant massage classes and other New Parent Support Family Advocacy Programs available in Stuttgart, visit