Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo care provides skin-to-skin care by placing the naked preterm infant in an upright position between the mother's breasts and allows unlimited breast-feeding. This concept of caring for preterm infants originated in Bogota, Columbia, as a low-cost way to assist preterm infants with temperature regulation, nutrition, and stimulation (Charpak et al., 1996). Kangaroo care is initiated after a routine period of stabilization after birth. A number of studies from developing countries, including a few randomized controlled trials, suggest that kangaroo care improves weight gain (an additional 3.6 grams per day), reduces the incidence of nosocomial (i.e., hospital-acquired), infections and reduces the incidences of severe illness and respiratory disease up to 6 months of age (Conde-Agudelo et al., 2003). Mothers who provided kangaroo care were more likely to continue to breast-feed and were more satisfied with the care that their infants received in the NICU.

Finding 10-1: Few postnatal intervention strategies that can be used to improve outcomes for children born preterm have been evaluated, and such intervention strategies are needed, especially for more immature preterm infants.

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