We performed this randomized trial to determine whether infants receiving skin-to-skin care (SSC) grew more rapidly and had a shorter duration of hospital stay compared with infants held by their parents in a traditional way. Infants who met eligibility criteria (<or=32 wk of gestation, <or=1500 g, minimal ventilatory support, and hemodynamically stable) were randomized to traditional holding (TH) or SSC groups. Parents in both groups were allowed to hold infants for a total of 8 hours per day (periods of up to 4 hr, twice/d). During the study, infants in the TH group were held 4.8 +/- 3.5 times per week and 76 +/- 39 minutes per day, and infants in the SSC group were held 4.0 +/- 2.8 times per week and 79 +/- 40 minutes per day. No significant differences were observed in weight accretion or linear growth. However, exposure to SSC was associated with greater head growth, even after controlling for head circumference at birth (p =.03). SSC may increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding.