Aim: To study the effect of maternal scent on the oral feeding, behavior and stress level of premature infants hospitalized in the Neonatal intensive care unit and to assess its potential effect on their development at 18 to 24 months
Premature infants develop their sense of smell very early in the womb. After birth infants can recognize and distinguish the odor of their mother from their father and others. Premature infants are capable of smelling and they experience less pain and agitation when they smell their mother's milk; studies have shown that premature infants have better sucking and feeding, and they may go home earlier when they are exposed to the odor of breast milk. It is not known whether the same will happen if preterm infants are exposed to their mother's smell rather than the smell of the maternal milk.