Effect of very early skin to skin contact on success at breastfeeding and preventing early hypothermia in neonates
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CONTEXT: Birth and immediate postpartum period pose many challenges for the newborn. The neonatal mortality rates are high in India, whereas the breastfeeding rates are still low. Hence, need exists for a simple and easily applicable intervention, which may counter these challenges. AIMS: The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of very early skin-to-skin contact (SSC), in term babies with their mothers, on success of breastfeeding and neonatal well-being. SETTINGS AND DESIGN: Randomized control trial conducted over 2 years' period in a tertiary care hospital. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Healthy babies delivered normally were included. Very early SSC between mothers and their newborns was initiated in the study group. We studied effective suckling (using modified infant breastfeeding assessment tool [IBFAT]), breastfeeding status at 6 weeks, maternal satisfaction, thermal regulation, baby's weight and morbidity. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: T-test, Pearson Chi-square test and non-parametric Mann-Whitney test were used through relevant Windows SPSS software version 16.0. RESULTS: We observed that SSC contributed to better suckling competence as measured by IBFAT score (P < 0.0001). More babies in the SSC group were exclusively breastfed at first follow-up visit (P = 0.002) and at 6 weeks (P < 0.0001). SSC led to higher maternal satisfaction rates, better temperature gain in immediate post-partum period, lesser weight loss was at discharge and at first follow-up (all P < 0.0001) and lesser morbidity than the study group (P = 0.006). CONCLUSION: Very early SSC is an effective intervention that improves baby's suckling competence, maternal satisfaction, breastfeeding rates and temperature control and weight patterns.
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