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Keywords:

  • Mother-infant behaviour;
  • extra contact;
  • neonatal period;
  • observations

Abstract The immediate post partum period may be particularly important for the developing relationship between mother and infant; little is as yet known, however, of the long-term effects of hospital practice during this period. This study examines the effect of extra contact during the first hour following delivery. An extra skin to skin contact and suckling contact was given to 22 primiparous mothers and their infants. One control group of 20 primiparous mothers and infants and a second one of 20 multiparous mothers and infants was given routine care immediately after birth. All mothers and infants were healthy with normal pregnancies and deliveries. At 36 hours a first observation was made of maternal and infant behaviour during breast feeding in all three groups. At this stage primiparae with extra contact showed behaviour much more like the behaviour of multiparae with routine care. Infants of primiparae with routine care cried most frequently. The behaviour of mothers of boys differed more from group to group than did that of mothers of girls.