A1 Journal article – refereed
Clinging to closeness: The parental view on developing a close bond with their infants in a NICU




List of Authors: Heli Mäkelä, Anna Axelin, Nancy Feeley, Hannakaisa Niela-Vilén
Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
Publication year: 2018
Journal: Midwifery
Journal name in source: Midwifery
Volume number: 62
eISSN: 1532-3099

Abstract

Objective: To identify and understand how parents develop a close bond to their infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Design: A qualitative descriptive study; closeness and separation stories recorded in a smartphone application by the parents were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Setting and participants: Twenty-three parents of nineteen infants who were taken care of in a level III NICU in Finland.

Findings: Bonding moments and a disrupted dyadic parent-infant relationship continuously alternated as in a rollercoaster ride during the hospital stay. Transitions from closeness to separation and vice versa were the most emotional stages on the journey. Parents had a natural desire to be close and create a bond with their infants; however, they accepted the separation as part of NICU care.

Key conclusions: The findings indicate that closeness with their infant was the power that parents stored and that led them through unavoidable separation to normal parenthood.

Implications for practice: Bonding and attachment will occur naturally if parents are close to their infants and permitted privacy and time with their infants. NICU staff should create a peaceful and calming environment that enables and supports this bonding process.


Downloadable publication

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.




Last updated on 2018-04-09 at 20:03