Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kangaroo Mother Care: Essential for your life and for your baby's health

History of KMC
  • Kangaroo Mother Care was invented in Bogota, Colombia, in 1978 and inspired by a grandmother 
Kangaroo Care began in 1979 in Bogota, Columbia. Due to a shortage of isolettes and staff, doctors hoped that skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby would provide the warmth and stimulation needed by newborns to survive. The results were so encouraging that the “kangaroo” method was introduced into various hospitals in Western Europe during the 1980s. Kangaroo Care came to the United States around 1990.
  • The method was approved by WHO, and UNICEF 
  • Helps in reducing the infant mortality in 3rd world countries
4 basic needs of every baby
  • Warmth
  • Nutrition
  • Breathing/Oxygen
  • Protection
What is KMC/KC

How to hold in Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo Care is a special way of holding your baby (wearing only a diaper) upright between the mother’s breasts or in the center of the father’s chest, with skin-to-skin contact. The parent’s shirt can be buttoned around the baby, and a blanket placed over the baby’s back or a kangaroo zak can be used. Nurses will be nearby to help you hold the baby and make sure you both feel comfortable. In this position, you may be able to feel your baby’s movements and your baby may be able to hear your heartbeat. Kangaroo Care enables you to hold your baby sooner, helping to strengthen the emotional bond between parents and baby. You should Kangaroo for no less than 1 hr so the baby receives all benefits from 1 sleep cycle. If your going to Kangaroo, make it worth it for baby!! 

Sensorial Stimulation
The stimulations that a baby is exposed to during KMC are:
  • Vestibular stimulation-by the movement of the chest of the parent when breathing
  • Tactile stimulation-by the sink-to-skin contact and the warmth of the mother
  • Olfactory stimulation-by the scent of the parent and maternal breast milk
  • Auditory stimulation-by the parent's voice and the heartbeat
Brain Development

a baby's brain at 35 weeks weighs only 2/3 of what it will weigh at 39 to 40 weeks. So much time is needed for the baby to sleep so that they can grow. KMC provides time for that to happen while naturally regulating temperature and heart rate. 

Benefits for babies
  • Normalized temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate (Ludington-Hoe et al., 2005)
  • Breast milk is readily available and accessible, and strengthens the infant's immune system
  • The maternal contact causes a calming effect with decreased stress and rapid quiescence (McCain, Ludington-Hoe, Swinth, & Hadeed, 2005; Charpak et al., 2005)
  • Reduced physiological and behavioral pain responses (Ludington-Hoe, Hosseini & Torowicz, 2005; Johnston et al, 2003)
  • Increased weight gain (Charpak, Ruiz-Pelaez, & Figueroa, 2005)
Benefits for babies
  • Enhanced mother-infant bonding (Dodd, 2005)
  • Positive effects on infant's cognitive development
  • Less noscomial infection, severe illness, or lower respiratory tract disease
  • Restful sleep
  • Earlier discharge
  • Possible reduced risk of sudden infant death 
  • Normalized infant growth of premature infants
  • May be a good intervention for colic
  • Possible positive effects in motor development of infants
Benefits for mothers and all the family
  • Enhanced attachment and bonding
  • Increased milk volume, doubled rates of successful breastfeeding
  • Physiologically her breasts respond to her infant's thermal needs
  • Resilience and feelings of confidence, competence, and satisfaction regarding baby care
Benefits for medical staff and hospital
  • Baby's less dissaturations, apnea, and bradycardia therefore monitors go off less and the noise level of the unit decreases
  • Moms that are kangarooing are calmer, more confident, and therefore require less nursing time and communication 
  • Kangaroo moms produce more milk therefore there is less need to supplement feeding formulas
  • Babies that get consistent kangaroo, sleep better so there is less need for unscheduled nursing intervention 
  • Kangaroo babies go home faster, grow and develop better
  • Who can hold in KC? Mom, dad, or anyone you allow to 
  • Why the nurse doesn't allow me to Kangaroo? 
    • How stable your baby’s condition is
    • How much heat your baby requires to stay warm
    • The types of IV lines your baby has
  • How do I approach the nurse about KMC?
    • Open a up a discussion about your wish to Kangaroo, communicate your desire, and if necessary visit with your neonatologist
  • Who makes the decision to KMC?
    • The parent along with the advice from your Doctor and nurses

Adapted from a presentation by Yamile C. Jackson, PDH, PE, PMP at our June Preemie Prints meeting. Please feel free to contact Yamile at with questions or comments or visit for more information on purchasing the Zaky or Kangaroo Zak.

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