Newborn Temperature During Skin-to-Skin Breastfeeding in Couples Having Breastfeeding Difficulties


  • Sheau-Huey Chiu PhD, RN, PNP,

    1. Assistant Professor, University of Akron, College of Nursing, Akron;
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  • Gene Cranston Anderson PhD, RN, FAAN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Gene Cranston Anderson is Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor, School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; and
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  • Maria D. Burkhammer RN, CD(DONA), IBCLC

    1. Maria D. Burkhammer is Project Coordinator, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, United States.
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  • This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research (2R01 NR02444), Bethesda, Maryland, the General Clinical Research Center (M01 RR00080-36), Cleveland, Ohio, and the Mellen Endowment to the second author.

* Gene Cranston Anderson, PhD, RN, FAAN, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Abstract: Background:Kangaroo (skin-to-skin contact) care facilitates the maintenance of safe temperatures in newborn infants. Concern persists that infants will become cold while breastfeeding, however, especially if in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. This concern might be especially realistic for infants experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. The objective was to measure temperature during a study of mothers and infants who were having breastfeeding difficulties during early postpartum and were given opportunities to experience skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding. Method:Forty-eight full-term infants were investigated using a pretest-test-posttest study design. Temporal artery temperature was measured before, after, and once during 3 consecutive skin-to-skin breastfeeding interventions and 1 intervention 24 hours after the first intervention. Results:During skin-to-skin contact, most infants reached and maintained temperatures between 36.5 and 37.6 °C, the thermoneutral range, with only rare exceptions. Conclusions:The temperatures of study infants reached and remained at the thermoneutral range during breastfeeding in skin-to-skin contact. The data suggest that mothers may have the ability to modulate their infant's temperature during skin-to-skin contact if given the opportunity. Hospital staff and parents can be reassured that, with respect to their temperature, healthy newborn infants, with or without breastfeeding difficulties, may safely breastfeed in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers. (BIRTH 32:2 June 2005)