Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: The Experience of Infant Massage. Academic Article uri icon


  • Babies born to women who have used opioids during pregnancy frequently develop withdrawal symptoms following birth. Although a consistently used protocol is not available to treat these infants, interventions commonly used include a pharmacological regimen and supportive care such as swaddling, frequent feedings, decreased sensory stimulation, and protection from skin breakdown (Murphy-Oikonen, Montelpare, Bertoldo, Southon, & Persichino, 2012). A qualitative study was designed to better understand how infant massage might impact these babies' behavior and the mothers' relationship with their babies. Themes derived from the data include empowerment, enjoyment and bonding, and calm and comfort. The themes suggest that infant massage helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms in infants while fostering a connection between mother and child.

publication date

  • February 2016