Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Nursing


Adult Health

Committee Chair

Susan McCrone

Committee Co-Chair

Charlita Atha

Committee Member

Veneta Eggleton

Committee Member

Martha Summers


Background: Breastfeeding is beneficial to the health of both mother and infant and fosters optimal growth for the baby in the first two years of life. Evidence based guidelines followed by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) includes Ten Steps. Step Four recommends placing the newborn skin-to-skin on the mother's chest to foster the initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour after birth.;Objectives: The first and second objective determined if skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between mother and infant in the healthy postpartum breastfeeding mother affected duration and exclusivity rates at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. The third objective described mothers' lived experience with breastfeeding and bonding following SSC per policy.;Design: A retrospective, cohort, mixed methods design was used in a small rural hospital in West Virginia (WV). The sample included 55 women who met the inclusion criteria of healthy mothers whose babies were vaginally delivered January 2012--September 2016. The intervention cohort received SSC per the Baby Friendly Step 4 policy. The comparison group did not receive SSC.;Methods: Duration rates, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) rates, and mothers' lived experience following SSC were collected via phone interview and transcription.;Results: Comparing the SSC to the comparison cohort, breastfeeding duration rates were: 82.4% vs. 61.6% at 6 weeks (p. = 0.170); 73.5% vs. 52.4% at 3 months (p. = 0.190); 44.1% versus 42.9% at 6 months (p. = 0.170). EBF rates were: 73.5% vs. 51.7% at 6 weeks (p= 0.336); 64.7% vs. 52.4% at 3 months (p = 0.533); 20.6% vs.23.8% at 6 months (p. = 1.00). In most time intervals the SSC cohort rates were higher than the comparative cohort rates, yet none of the rates reached significance. Mothers identified that SSC had a positive effect on their breastfeeding and bonding experience in the first months of their babies' lives.