The effect of I Love You massage technique on the gastric function, growth parameters, and comfort among hospitalized preterm neonates

Document Type : Original Article


1 Pediatric Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, Kafrelsheikh University, Kafrelsheikh, Egypt.

2 Pediatric Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing, Damanhour University, Egypt.


Background: One of the most frequent problems that arise in preterm neonates and elevates their morbidity and death rate is feeding intolerance. Aim: Determine the effect of the I Love You technique of abdominal massage on gastric function, growth parameters, and comfort among hospitalized preterm neonates. Methods: Quasi-experimental research design took place in Kafrelsheikh University Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit-Egypt. A sample of 60 preterm neonates was randomly divided into two groups, each receiving conventional hospital care. The study group received a 15-minute abdominal massage twice daily, precisely one hour before their meals. Tools: The preterm neonates' characteristics assessment record, Neonate Comfort Behavior (COMFORT neo) Scale, and feeding intolerance assessment sheet were the three instruments employed. Results: Statistical difference is evident in the mean scores denoting feeding intolerance parameters between the initial day and the fifth day within the massage group such as gastric residual volume, abdominal circumference, vomiting frequency, and defecation frequency. Most of the study group had achieved comfort through the third to fifth day of the study. The difference in mean weight between the massage and control groups on the fifth day exhibited an exceptionally high level of statistical significance. Conclusion: This study highlights the efficacy of the I Love You massage of the abdomen as a safe non-pharmacological intervention in preterm neonates receiving enteral nutrition. Recommendation: Training initiatives should be implemented for all nurses in the NICU to educate them about the utilization of abdominal massage and its advantageous outcomes for premature neonates.