Towards Universal Kangaroo Mother Care: Recommendations and report from the 1 European Conference and 7 International Workshop on Kangaroo Mother Care.

Nyqvist KH, Anderson GC, Bergman N, Cattaneo A, Charpak N, Davanzo R, Ewald U, Ibe O, Ludington-Hoe S, Mendoza S, Pallás-Allonso C, Peláez JG, Sizun J, Widström AM.

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Mar 6. [Epub ahead of print]


The hallmark of Kangaroo Mother Care is the kangaroo position: the infant is cared for skin-to-skin vertically between the mother’s breasts and below her clothes, 24 hours/day, with father/substitute(s) participating as KMC providers. Intermittent KMC (for short periods once or a few times per day, for a variable number of days) is commonly employed in high tech neonatal intensive care units. These two modalities should be regarded as a progressive adaptation of the mother-infant dyad, ideally towards continuous KMC, starting gradually and progressively with intermittent KMC.

The other components in KMC are exclusive breast feeding (ideally) and early discharge in kangaroo position with strict follow -up. Current evidence allows the following general statements about KMC in affluent and low-income settings: KMC enhances bonding and attachment; reduces maternal postpartum depression symptoms; increases parental sensitivity to infant cues; contributes to the establishment and longer duration of breastfeeding, and has positive effects on infant development and infant/parent interaction. Therefore, intrapartum and postnatal care in all types of settings should adhere to a paradigm of non-separation of infants and their mothers/families. Preterm/low birth weigh infants should be regarded as extero-gestational foetuses needing skin-to-skin contact to promote maturation. Conclusion: KMC should begin as soon as possible after birth, be applied as continuous skin-to-skin contact to the extent that this is possible and appropriate, and continue for as long as appropriate.