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Parent and grandparent neonatal intensive care unit visitation for preterm infants



Characterize family NICU visitation and examine associations with maternal health and social factors and infant health outcomes.

Study design

Retrospective cohort study of 167 infants born ≤32 weeks at two urban NICUs 01/2019-03/2020. Average nurse-documented family member visitation and associations of visitation with maternal and infant factors and outcomes were compared.


Mothers visited 4.4 days/week, fathers 2.6 days/week, and grandparents 0.4 days/week. Older maternal age, nulliparity, and non-English primary language were associated with more frequent family visitation. Mothers with depression or anxiety history visited less. Maternal depression and public insurance were associated with fewer father visits. Low parental visitation was associated with lower odds of feeding any maternal milk at discharge and low maternal visitation with 11.5% fewer completed infant subspecialty appointments in the year following discharge (95% CI −20.0%, −3.0%).


Families with social disadvantage visited less often. Parental visitation was associated with infant feeding and follow-up.

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Fig. 1: Variations in family member visitation frequency and trend.

Data availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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We would like to thank the Yale Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, and Fellow Academic Funding Award for educational funding support of Leslie Harris for this project. We would also like to acknowledge the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation for the data acquisition for this project; this was made possible by CTSA Grant Number UL1 TR001863 or KL2 TR001862 or TL1 TR001864 (as appropriate) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of Yale University or the NIH.

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Authors and Affiliations



LMH contributed to the study conception and design, coordinated data acquisition, cleaned and analyzed the data, drafted the initial manuscript, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. VS contributed to the study design, supervised data cleaning and statistical analyses, performed statistical analyses, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. JMB advised the study design and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. DL and BD contributed to data collection and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. MP contributed to the study conception and design and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. SNT contributed to the study conception and design, supervised data acquisition, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah N. Taylor.

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Competing interests

SNT is the site principal investigator for studies funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, and Prolacta Bioscience. SNT has served as a content expert for the Vermont Oxford Network.


This study was approved by the Yale Human Research Protection Program Institutional Review Boards (protocol ID 2000030868) and performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

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Harris, L.M., Shabanova, V., Martinez-Brockman, J.L. et al. Parent and grandparent neonatal intensive care unit visitation for preterm infants. J Perinatol (2023).

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