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Research Project: Preventing the Development of Childhood Obesity

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: The Dr. Seuss prescription: Enhancing maternal bonding in the NICU through shared book reading

item BLAKE, ANN - Baylor College Of Medicine
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item NOLL, LISA - Baylor College Of Medicine

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2021
Publication Date: 4/20/2021
Citation: Blake, A., Thompson, D.J., Noll, L. 2021. The Dr. Seuss prescription: Enhancing maternal bonding in the NICU through shared book reading [abstract]. 2021 Pediatric Research Symposium (Virtual). April 20, 2021; Houston, TX. Poster Presentation.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The benefits to children of shared book reading are well established. However, fewer studies examine the effect of shared book reading on the parent. The available literature indicates that reading has the potential to improve parenting competence, parenting self-esteem, and reduce parental stress and depression. The examination of the effect of shared book reading on the parent is largely unexplored in the NICU setting. A shared book reading intervention in the NICU setting has the potential to be a novel and effective method to encourage parental bonding. Using a qualitative research approach, we explore maternal feelings of bonding in the NICU, perception of maternal-infant interactions in the NICU, and how the introduction of free children's books and video instruction in shared book reading influence maternal perceptions of bonding in the NICU. Enrollment criteria includes English-speaking mothers with one living infant at the time of enrollment born before 32+6 weeks gestation and admitted to the Pavilion for Women NICU. Mothers are approached between 5-14 days of infant life. Enrollees participate in two digitally-recorded phone interviews. The first interview explores mother-infant bonding, NICU experiences, and instruction received regarding how to interact with one's infant. Participants then receive three children's books and a brief instructional video on reading to infants in the NICU. Two weeks later, mothers participate in a second digitally-recorded phone interview exploring parent-infant activities, perceptions of bonding, and experiences related to reading to their infant. Interviews are transcribed verbatim and coded and analyzed using hybrid thematic analysis. To date, 11 mothers have completed data collection. Emerging themes are: disorientation and uncertainty, lack of standardized instruction on parent/infant interaction, and positive reactions to reading to their infant. This study seeks to improve parental bonding quality with hospitalized neonates through the use of dialogic book reading. Reading is a low-cost activity with numerous potential benefits for both parents and children. This initiative focuses on enhancing the experience of parenting in the NICU, regardless of the severity of infant illness. Reading offers a noninvasive bonding tool, that could potentially be extended to infants in the gravest condition in the NICU.