Newborn Temperature During Skin-to-Skin Breastfeeding in Couples Having Breastfeeding Difficulties

Sheau-Huey Chiu, PhD, RN, PNP, Gene Cranston Anderson, PhD, RN, FAAN2, and Maria D. Burkhammer, RN, CD(DONA), IBCLC

Birth. 2005 Jun;32(2):115-21.

Kangaroo (skin-to-skin contact) care facilitates the maintenance of safe temperatures in newborn infants. Concern persists that infants will become cold while breastfeeding, however, especially if in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. This concern might be especially realistic for infants experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. The objective was to measure temperature during a study of mothers and infants who were having breastfeeding difficulties during early postpartum and were given opportunities to experience skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding. Method:Forty-eight full-term infants were investigated using a pretest-test-posttest study design. Temporal artery temperature was measured before, after, and once during 3 consecutive skin-to-skin breastfeeding interventions and 1 intervention 24 hours after the first intervention. Results:During skin-to-skin contact, most infants reached and maintained temperatures between 36.5 and 37.6 °C, the thermoneutral range, with only rare exceptions. Conclusions:The temperatures of study infants reached and remained at the thermoneutral range during breastfeeding in skin-to-skin contact. The data suggest that mothers may have the ability to modulate their infant’s temperature during skin-to-skin contact if given the opportunity. Hospital staff and parents can be reassured that, with respect to their temperature, healthy newborn infants, with or without breastfeeding difficulties, may safely breastfeed in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers.

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