SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract This study examined the effect on infant morbidity and mortality of sustained nursing contact with mothers of healthy infants who are considered medically low risk but socially are at high risk due to poverty, low maternal education, and parenting at an early age. A quasi-experimental approach using a pretestposttest design was used to evaluate the effect of the sustained nursing contact intervention (N= 97) compared with the instructions traditionally provided to the mothers of such infants (N= 48). In general, intervention and control infants did not differ on variables measuring health and development, morbidity, incidence of accidents, utilization of health care services, or immunization rates. Intervention infants scored significantly higher on advanced gross motor skills and had significantly fewer upper respiratory symptoms at the final visit. Highest morbidity was experienced by infants of teenaged mothers in the control group who had more than one infant. It was concluded that sustained nursing contact during the first eight months of infant life was beneficial to low-income African-American mothers, especially teenaged mothers with more than one infant. Infant morbidity and mortality were lower in both groups than would have been expected for their risk level, indicating that even minimal sustained nursing contact enhances outcomes of healthy infants at high risk for mortality and morbidity due to social factors.