Abstract Aim: To explore how fathers of premature infants experience and potentially benefit from using the skin-to-skin (STS) method during their infants’ admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Methods, participants and setting: Hermeneutic phenomenological qualitative study. In-depth, semi-structured interviews with five fathers of premature infants in the NICU, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark. Findings: Three themes emerged: 1) “The competent parenthood”. 2) The paternal role and the division of roles between the parents. 3) Balance between working life and time spent with the infant. Conclusion: STS enhances the fathers’ ability to play a caring role in their infant’s life. Fathers consider themselves less important, as compared to the mother in relation to their infant. STS enhances an understanding of their own role as a father. Health professionals should focus on promoting the abilities of both parents and on ascribing the fathers an equal and important role in their infant’s care. ª 2012 Neonatal Nurses Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 2013, Vol 19, Issue 3, p. 114-21