An abstract presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando reveals that skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant in the delivery room is associated with an increased likelihood for exclusive breastfeeding.
When combined with a mother's intent to breastfeed, the likelihood was even greater.
In "Early Skin-to-Skin Contact in the Delivery Room Leads to an Increase in Exclusive Breastfeeding during the Newborn Hospital Stay," researchers reviewed electronic medical records of single, late preterm or term healthy births at a New York hospital. Study authors looked for information on whether or not the mother and infant had skin-to-skin contact in the delivery room, as well as maternal age, intention to breastfeed, gestational age, mode of delivery, admission temperature and glucose testing on admission to the newborn nursery. They also noted the number of formula feedings, birth weight, discharge weight and duration of hospital stay.
"Breastfeeding is one of the easiest things we can do for babies to make sure they're growing up healthy," said study author Darshna Bhatt, DO, MPH. "While skin-to-skin contact is associated positively with exclusive breastfeeding, the statistically significant factor is intention."
This "synergistic effect" between intent and skin-to-skin contact increases the odds that a mother will breastfeed, she said.
"We have to create a more interdisciplinary approach to increasing awareness and intention," Dr. Bhatt said. "When moms declare their intention to breastfeed, there really shouldn't be a reason why they don't have skin-to-skin contact with her new infant in the delivery room."