Purpose: To compare the effects of integrating mother’s breast milk (BM)
with three different combinations of sensory stimuli on preterm infant
pain during peripheral venipuncture procedures.
Design: A prospective, repeated-measures randomized controlled trial.
Methods: Preterm infants (gestational age between 28 and 37 weeks, and
in stable condition) needing venipuncture were recruited by convenience
sampling (N = 140) and randomly assigned to four treatment conditions:
(a) routine care (condition 1); (b) BM odor or taste (condition 2); (c) BM
odor or taste + heartbeat sounds (HBs; condition 3), and (d) BM odor or
taste + HBs + non-nutritive sucking (NNS; condition 4). Pain scores were
assessed based on the Premature Infant Pain Profile-Revised (PIPP-R) over
nine phases: baseline (phase 0, 5 min without stimuli before venipuncture),
disinfecting (phase 1), during venipuncture (phase 2), and a 10-min recovery
Findings: Infants who received BM odor or taste + HBs + NNS had significantly
lower increases in pain scores from baseline compared with controls
across phases 1 through 8. Infants treated with either condition 2 or
3 demonstrated significant reductions in mild pain during disinfecting and
recovery phases, as compared with the controls. When condition 2 was
used as the reference, there were no significant differences in pain scores
between the infants receiving condition 3 across the nine phases, suggesting
mothers’ HBs have only mild analgesic effects on venipuncture pain.
Conclusions: Integration of mother’s BM odor or taste, HBs, and tactile
NNS should be considered as an intervention for alleviation of procedural
pain for preterm infants.
Clinical Relevance: Clinicians should incorporate the integrated sensory
intervention into caregiving support for preterm infants undergoing short