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Infant Behav Dev. 2016 May;43:58-65. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2016.01.001. Epub 2016 Apr 28.

An experimental study on mother-infant skin-to-skin contact in full-terms.

Author information

1
Department of Developmental Psychology, Behavioral Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: r.beijers@psych.ru.nl.
2
Department of Developmental Psychology, Behavioral Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

In premature infants, daily skin-to-skin contact (SSC) has various beneficial effects on the health of the infant and the mother. These beneficial effects might extend to full-term infants. This experimental within-subject study examines the immediate effects of SSC on full-terms' cortisol physiology during SSC and subsequent physiological and behavioral reactions to a mild stressor (a bathing session). Additionally, the effects of SSC on the quality of maternal behavior are examined. Between 5 and 7 weeks postpartum, 17 full-term infant-mother dyads were visited at home twice. During one home visit, a bathing session was proceeded by 50min of mother-infant SSC, while during the other visit the bathing session was proceeded by 50min of the infant resting alone. The order of the home visits was counterbalanced. Infant salivary cortisol measures were taken to measure the cortisol response to the experimental condition (SSC versus solitary resting) and the bathing session. Furthermore, infant behavioral distress and the quality of maternal behavior during the bathing session were scored from videotapes. Two-way within-subject repeated measures ANOVA's showed that, when compared to solitary resting, full-terms' cortisol concentrations significantly decreased during SSC, followed by higher cortisol reactivity in response to the subsequent bathing session. No effects of SSC on infant behavioral distress and maternal caregiving behavior were found. Apparently, a single session of mother-infant SSC can affect infant cortisol physiology in full-term infants. Future SSC research is needed to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms and dose-response relations in full-term infants.

KEYWORDS:

Cortisol; Infancy; Quality of maternal behavior; Sensitivity; Skin-to-skin contact (SSC); Stress

PMID:
27130955
DOI:
10.1016/j.infbeh.2016.01.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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