Purpose: To determine whether weighing preterm infants before and after breastfeeding ("test weighing") affects maternal confidence and competence.
Methods: A longitudinal, repeated measures control group study. Sixty mothers of preterm infants were randomly assigned to a test weight or nontest weight group. In the test weight group, nurses weighed infants before and after every breastfeeding while they were in hospital. Maternal confidence and competence were measured four times: (a) at 3 days after the initiation of breastfeeding, (b) at infants' discharge from hospital, (c) at 1 week postdischarge, (d) at 4 weeks postdischarge.
Results: No significant differences in maternal confidence and competence at any of the measurement times were found. When change over time was examined using MANOVAs, the levels of competence and confidence in both groups had increased significantly.
Clinical implications: The development of maternal confidence and competence in this group was independent of test weighing during hospitalization and calls into question claims that such interventions are necessary to develop competence or confidence in mothers of preterm infants.