Every year some 15 million infants worldwide are born prematurely. Because the infants often require intensive care, it is common that they are separated from their parents, which can negatively affect the attachment between mother and infant.
For the parents, this separation can result in guilt and a sense of emptiness at not being able to be close to their newborn child. For the infant, losing closeness to the parents is one of the largest stress factors in early life. But skin-to-skin care against the parent's chest, instead of care in an incubator, can reduce stress.
Contact - Parent - Infant - Effects - Infant
"Skin-to-skin contact between parent and infant has proved to have positive effects for the infant's development -- but there are no clear results regarding the effect on the interaction between mother and infant. Which is why we wanted to study this," says Charlotte Sahlén Helmer, doctoral student at Linköping University, Sweden.
In the study, the researchers investigated the interaction between mothers and infants born prematurely -- between weeks 32 and 36. The study was carried out at two Swedish hospitals, where the parents are able to be with their infant around the clock. Thirty-one families took part. The families were split into two groups: one where the mother...
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