Thesis defence in the University of Oulu

Doctoral Candidate

Master of health science Mervi Hakala

Faculty and research unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management

Field of study

Nursing science

Date and time of the thesis defence

8.11.2019 12:00

Place of the thesis defence

Leena Palotie -auditorium 101A, Aapistie 5 A, Oulu

Topic of the dissertation

Implementation of skin-to-skin contact, initial breastfeeding, rooming-in and exclusive breastfeeding in maternity hospitals


Professor Eija Paavilainen, University of Tampere


Docent Satu Elo, University of Oulu

After birth used practices can influence exclusive breastfeeding

This study describes skin-to-skin contact, initial breastfeeding, rooming-in, and exclusive breastfeeding in accordance with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) program. Furthermore, it addresses the connection of these factors in Finnish maternity hospitals and gathers information about the daily work of maternity ward staff, which is useful to develop ways to increase exclusive breastfeeding of infants and to plan the introduction of BFHI.

The study uses a cross-sectional design that includes questionnaires. Random data came from mothers (n=111), midwives (n=272), and maternity ward staff (f=1554) in maternity hospitals during the spring of 2014. The questionnaires include background questions, questions concerning the implementation of skin-to-skin contact, initial breastfeeding, rooming-in, exclusive breastfeeding according to the BFHI, and open-ended questions about implementation barriers. The analysis used statistical methods to interpret the data and content specifications to explain the answers to open questions.

In Finland, successful skin-to-skin contact, initial breastfeeding, and rooming-in results in multiparas and vaginally births women. After vaginally births, exclusive breastfeeding increases when skin-to-skin contact, initial breastfeeding, and rooming-in starts at an early stage. Rooming- in does not take place for many different reasons.

Maternity staff state that 72% implement exclusive breastfeeding, and mothers state that 55% exclusively breastfeed. Primiparous mothers and those who underwent cesarean are the populations that least use exclusive breastfeeding mostly due to infant medical issues and to non-medical reasons.

The results of the study bring to light that practices with skin-to-skin contact, initial breastfeeding, and rooming-in in Finnish maternity units are similar to BFHI steps. Exclusive breastfeeding during hospitalization, as well as implementation barriers, should receive special attention. Furthermore, maternity staff should have a clearer medical understanding.



Last updated: 1.11.2019