To determine whether skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their newborns will reduce the pain experienced by the infant during heel lance.


A prospective, randomized, controlled trial.


Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts.


A total of 30 newborn infants were studied.


Infants were assigned randomly to either being held by their mothers in whole body, skin-to-skin contact or to no intervention (swaddled in crib) during a standard heel lance procedure.

Outcome Measures.

The effectiveness of the intervention was determined by comparing crying, grimacing, and heart rate differences between contact and control infants during and after blood collection.


Crying and grimacing were reduced by 82% and 65%, respectively, from control infant levels during the heel lance procedure. Heart rate also was reduced substantially by contact.


Skin-to-skin contact is a remarkably potent intervention against the pain experienced during heel stick in newborns.

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