Reconciliation and healing for mothers through skin-to-skin contact provided in an American tertiary level intensive care nursery

Neonatal Netw. 1993 Apr;12(3):25-32.


Feasibility and safety of skin-to-skin contact through the Kangaroo method of care in a modern American tertiary intensive care was studied, as well as effects of this innovative care on mother's emotional reactions. Eight mother infant dyads participated in skin-to-skin contact a minimum of 4 hours each day for six days per week during a period of three consecutive weeks. The cognitive adaptation framework was used to identify themes in maternal responses. During the first week, mothers were preoccupied with childbirth events in attempts to understand their sense of loss and victimization. During the second week, maternal emotions intensified and manifested in fears for the baby's well-being and a need to discuss negative and positive emotional reactions to having a premature and sick baby. All mothers requested respite time from skin-to-skin contact, so they could deal with their emotional crises. By the third week, mothers had an increased sense of meaning, mastery, and self-esteem about what had happened to themselves and their infants. Themes of reconciliation and healing occurred when mothers placed their infant skin-to-skin in the Kangaroo position over the three consecutive weeks that this type of nursing care was experienced.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Object Attachment
  • Touch*