Document Type : Original Article


1 Master of Newborn Intensive Care Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Student Research Committee, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran

2 Associate Professor of NeonatalPerinatal Medicine, NonCommunicable Pediatric Diseases Research Center, Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran

3 Nursing Care Research Center, Health Research Institute, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran

4 Health Research Institute, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Iran


BACKGROUND: The birth of a pre‑mature infant and subsequent hospitalization and separation
from the family can impair maternal and neonatal attachment and quality of maternal care. This
study aimed to assess the effect of instructing mothers in attachment behaviors on short‑term health
outcomes of pre‑mature infants admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this quasi experimental study, 80 mothers of pre‑mature infants who
were admitted to NICUs at two referral health centers in northern Iran were studied in two groups in
2018. Attachment behaviors were taught to mothers in the test group during four consecutive sessions.
Mother–infant attachment behaviors were evaluated at both the beginning and the end of this study
using a checklist derived from Avant’s Maternal Attachment Assessment Strategy. Moreover, infants’
short‑term health consequences were investigated in two groups. SPSS 18 statistical software was
used for data analysis.
RESULTS: On average, it took respectively 34.90 ± 12/65 and 31/15 ± 14/35 days for the infants in
the control and the intervention group to reach full oral feeding and 38/5 (38/4–42/11) and 37 (31/85–
42/14) days to gain the minimum weight required for discharge. Moreover, the mean length of stay
for the infants in the control and the intervention group was 41/80 ± 13/86 and 39/02 ± 16/01 days,
respectively (P > 0/05).
CONCLUSION: Instructing mothers in attachment behaviors clinically improved short‑term
health‑related outcomes. Hence, this intervention is recommended to be incorporated in the care
program for mothers with pre‑mature infants.


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