The effects of skin-to-skin holding on caloric composition of expressed breast milk

Amy Nagorski Johnson


Objective: Mothers of premature infants express breast milk for early infant feedings, however problems arise with changes in physiologic stability of the infant. This pilot study examines the relationship of skin-to-skin holding to the caloric composition of maternal breast milk expressed by mothers of premature infants immediately after holding their infants.

Methods: Twelve dyads of first-time mothers with medically stable neonates weighing 1,500 grams or less at birth participated in this study.  Mothers pumped breast milk on their personal, regular schedules over a 4-day study enrollment, skin-to-skin held their premature infants during the study, and pumped following holding their infants. All expressed breast milk was measured for caloric composition using a Creamatocrit Plus centrifuge. The expressed milk compositions over a four day period were compared using repeated measures ANOVA.

Results and conclusions: Four sequential days of pumped breast milk data was collected and tested from each mother. There was a significant increase in caloric composition for every sample of breast milk expressed after skin-to-skin holding as compared to non-holding conditions (p = .000) in this pilot study. These findings demonstrate clinical importance in that skin-to-skin holding has the potential to improve premature infant growth over time.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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