Abstract Primiparous mothers and their infants who had an extra 15–20 minutes' suckling and skin to skin contact during the first hour after delivery, behaved differently at 36 hours post partum compared with a control group without this extra contact. The present study is a 3-month follow-up of these mothers and infants by means of direct observation of mother-infant free play and a personal interview with the mothers. Mothers in the extra contact group spent more time kissing and looking en face at their infants; these infants smiled more often and cried less frequently. A greater proportion of the mothers with extra contact were still breast feeding at 3 months. The influence of extra contact on behaviour was more pronounced in boy–mother than in girl–mother pairs.