• preterm infants;
  • caregiving;
  • positioning;
  • non-nutritive sucking;
  • physiological and behavioral responses;
  • NICU


This prospective, descriptive study used a repeated-measures design to explore preterm infants' biobehavioral responses to 24-hour neonatal caregiving and positioning, and the factors associated with changes in their biobehavioral responses. Thirty preterm infants (gestational age 27.6–36.1 weeks) were observed for 3 days to record biobehavioral responses. Infants' disorganized behaviors increased as caregiving intrusiveness and supine positioning increased. Social interactions did not lead to increases in infants' disorganized behaviors, but to increased regulatory behaviors. Non-nutritive sucking (NNS), and prone positioning reduced occurrences of infant disorganized behaviors. Routine caregiving increased instability of oxygen saturation, but lateral and prone positioning improved physiological stability. Clinicians can appropriately provide NNS, positioning, and social interactions to promote biobehavioral stability. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 35:634–646, 2012