Interventions aimed at improving parental understanding of preterm infants' behavioral signs have drawn increased attention in recent years. However, there are limited data regarding parents' actual perceptions of infants' behavior during parent–infant interactions while infants are in a light-sleep state.
(1) To describe parental perceptions of infants' behavior at 33 to 35 weeks' corrected age during light-sleep and (2) to identify changes in parental perceptions of preterm infants' behavior over time.
This study used a qualitative, longitudinal design based on observations and interviews. Three sets of parents and their infants born between 29 and 30 weeks' gestational age were observed up to 3 times during light sleep states when the infants were 33 to 35 weeks' corrected age. Parents were interviewed regarding their perceptions of infant behavior/growth once at the time of observation and once more within 2 weeks of the final observation. The findings are based on the observation of parents' perception-driven interactions with infants.
Four themes emerged describing the transition of parental perception that progresses to gain a better understanding of their infant's behavior through repeated interaction.
Implications for Practice:
The findings of this study inform caregivers in neonatal intensive care units regarding the unique experience of parent–infant dyads. This knowledge can help promote family-centered developmental care efforts in neonatal intensive care units.
Implications for Research:
Further research should focus on studying a larger sample group to confirm the findings and refining strategies to incorporate the findings to enhance neonatal intensive care unit care.