Skin-to-skin holding in the neonatal intensive care unit influences maternal milk volume

Hurst NM, Valentine CJ, Renfro L, Burns P, Ferlic L.

J Perinatol. 1997 May-Jun;17(3):213-7.


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of early initiation of skin-to-skin (STS) holding on lactation, we compared 24-hour milk volumes of mothers of ventilated low birth weight infants in an STS group to mothers in a non-STS control group.

STUDY DESIGN: Mean 24-hour milk volumes at 2, 3, and 4 weeks after delivery of mothers participating in STS holding were compared with those of a retrospective control group from the 12-month period immediately preceding the introduction of STS holding in the neonatal intensive care unit. A repeated-measures analysis of variance adjusting for baseline volumes (1 week after delivery) was used to evaluate the difference in milk volumes between STS and control groups.

RESULTS: Sixteen mothers initiated STS holding during the 2-month study period. Eight mothers met study criteria by initiating STS holding during the first 4 weeks after delivery. During a 2-week period the study group had a strong linear increase in milk volume in contrast to no indicative change of the control group’s milk volume.

CONCLUSION: STS holding of low birth weight infants initiated in the early intensive care phase can result in a significant increase in maternal milk volume, thereby overcoming the frequently seen insufficient lactation experienced by these mothers.

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