Dorset Parent Infant Partnership has come far from the early days of individual helpers. We now have a coordinated network of professionals working together and making great strides in the right direction. Below are the views of some parents on what can be achieved through parent infant therapy.


“It has completely changed my life. I feel so happy to have Bella and Jacob, so we can be a family again. I couldn’t really see how bad I was, but Parent Infant Psychotherapy was the essential aid in my recovery and I totally love being a parent now. I think I would have lost Bella into care if it hadn’t been for this unique service”

Shelley’s story

“Martin and I came across baby massage and all its benefits quite a while before we knew that Willow was going to come so early, and so we had already decided it was something we wanted to do together as a family, in order to support the natural bonding process. The idea of creating dedicated time to connect with one another, when you do nothing else but focus on your baby, made complete sense to us.

But when Willow came along six weeks early, she was so tiny, and we were aware of the risk (albeit it very low) of developmental problems, because she’d arrived before her brain and other organs had developed to full term. We wanted to make sure that we were doing everything possible for her, to help her develop normally from a physiological, social and emotional perspective, and we were made aware that providing a safe, secure and loving home environment could really support her in this. So suddenly baby massage became an essential: we needed to learn how to help her develop healthy, secure attachments, in order to support normal social and emotional development, and reduce the risk of her developing feelings of shyness, insecurity and anxiety, amongst other things.

Martin and I both spent individual one-on-one time with Willow and our IAIM baby massage practitioner, as well as together as a family. It became part of our family routine, time we looked forward to every week, and was the most special time and beautiful experience, which Willow responded to amazingly. We noticed how much it relaxed her and chilled her out, as we practised the different strokes on her with relaxation breathing techniques, and spent mindful time communicating together as a family through eye contact, loving touch and talk. Not only that but it also helped with physiological issues, such as wind and silent reflux. It also helped to calm and relax us!

I would strongly recommend that all new parents embrace infant massage, especially if their baby is premature. This was the best start we could’ve given little Willow and our family, and which I have no doubt has put really positive foundations in place for healthy development”.

Martin’s story

“As a Dad, it was really important to me to find ways to get involved with Willow as much as I could. I wanted to spend quality time with her, so that we could bond, and so that I could help her as much as possible in her development. The baby massage sessions took place on a Saturday, which meant that I could have this special dedicated time with Willow, completely focussed on her - and on us as a family, with no interruptions or distractions. It helped us all to connect, chill out and relax, and it taught Shelley and I a range of non-invasive techniques, which we took away with us and have continued to use in practise with Willow, which often serve as a brilliant way of transitioning her between bath and bedtime. The great thing about the private sessions we had with our IAIM-practitioner, was that she came to us: all of the sessions took place in Willow’s nursery, and so she has come to associate this space with feeling calm and safe. 

It can be more challenging as a Dad to feel involved with your baby, but what baby massage gave to me was this very real sense of involvement and connection. It’s the most rewarding experience and one which I would highly recommend to all new Dads.”

Father and baby

Further notes: Shelley, Martin and Willow worked with IAIM practitioner, Emma Lindell from Sunflower Baby Massage. Emma is also the Co-founder of DorPIP – the Dorset Parent Infant Partnership.