Did you know parental presence and holding during an infant’s NICU admission impacts developmental outcomes by term equivalent and persists through age 4-5? 


In the 2018 study by Pineda and colleagues, entitled Parent Participation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Predictors and Relationships to Neurobehavior and Developmental Outcomes, researchers examined the relationship between the frequency of parental presence and holding and its impact on neurodevelopmental outcomes. The study revealed that by term equivalent a greater frequency of holding was associated with improved reflex development and increased skin-to-skin holding was associated with improved reflex development and less asymmetry. Additionally, skin-to-skin holding was associated with better gross motor development by 4-5 years of age. Predictors of increased prental presence and holding included items like caucasian, fewer children, and family support.


Neonatal Caregivers’ education and support for parents in the NICU make a huge impact on the frequency of skin-to-skin holding and parental visitation. Creative Therapy Consultants’ DVDs help provide consistent education to families and staff members to improve the safety, consistency and frequency of daily caregiving activities like skin-to-skin, swaddled bathing and neonatal massage. Learn more here!

Pineda, R. Bender, J., Hall, B., Shabosky, L., Annecca, A., Smith, J. (2018).Parent participation in the neonatal intensive care unit: predictors and relationships to neurobehavior and developmental outcomes. Early Human Development, 117, 32-38.