Ten Swedish and 23 Turkish mothers delivering premature infants with a birth weight of less than 2000 g were investigated concerning their attitudes and feelings towards their newborn babies when the infants were treated either in an air-heated incubator or on a heated water-filled mattress (HWM). The first interview took place during the first few days after delivery and the second interview in the case of the Swedish study two weeks later and in the Turkish study one week later. In the first interview, feelings of fear, unreality and insecurity predominated, although significantly more so among the mothers of the incubator group. These feelings had changed strikingly by the time of the second interview among the mothers whose infants were treated on the HWM, but persisted to a large extent among the mothers whose infants remained in an incubator. The results of both investigations indicate that the mothers' perceptions of their infants improves when the prematurely born infant is treated on an HWM instead of in an incubator.