Purpose: This study aimed at assessing the effect of short duration Skin to skin contact (SSC) (5 days) on premature infants? short-term physiological and behavioral outcomes.
Design and Methods: A quasi-experimental control group design was utilized. 89 stable premature infants were allocated to either an interventional or control group.
Results: Results showed that in comparison to the control group, newborns in the SSC group demonstrated higher weight gain (g/day) from day 3-5 of practicing SSC (53.7g Vs. 32.6 g; p<.05), experienced significantly fewer numbers of apneas (48% Vs. 33.3%; p=.001), and were less likely to use formula feeding (60% Vs. 90%) and more likely to use mixed feeding (formula and breastfeeding) at discharge (33.3% Vs. 10%). Significant differences were also found in the crying, and sleeping patterns of the infants; infants of mothers who practiced SSC were less likely to cry in a continuous pattern and more likely to experience good sleep than infants in the control group.
Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of the early and short duration of SSC for premature infants.
Practice Implications: The initiation of SSC in the first few days of life may have a significant influence on the newborn?s short-term outcomes.