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Skin to Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin care, also known as Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is an innovative method of taking care of premature and low birth weight (LBW) babies. With KMC the baby is dressed only in a small nappy and then placed on the mother's naked chest, between her breasts with the head of the baby underneath her chin. The baby can also be placed on the father's chest and he can provide skin-to-skin care.

KMC improves the outcome of the premature babies, humanise the general care, help the baby with temperature regulation, reduce the length of hospitalisation and infection and improve parent-to-infant bonding. KMC further establishes exclusive breastfeeding.

Why do we call it Kangaroo Mother Care? KMC reminds us of how marsupials or kangaroos take care of their young. The infant kangaroo is always born prematurely. When the little kangaroo is born, it crawls into the maternal pouch where it receives warmth, safety and food, until maturation. Similar to the kangaroo mother, the human mother provides a safe, warm environment and frequent feeding opportunities for her premature or LBW infant, when she cares for her baby, using the KMC method.

Continuous KMC is skin-to-skin care practiced for 24 hours, day and night. The baby is removed from the position, only when the mother takes a bath. Alternatively, intermittent KMC can be practiced. The infant is held skin-to-skin for a shorter period of time when the mother or father is unable to be with their infant for 24 hours. In this case parents can practice KMC for a few hours per day and still experience the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.

Kangarooing is beneficial to all

Many research studies have been done comparing KMC to incubator care. These studies have shown that KMC has numerous benefits. The benefits have been divided into 3 categories namely benefits to the baby, parents and hospital.

Benefits to the baby include maintenance of adequate body temperature, less crying and more quiet sleep periods. The baby will also show less energy consuming movements resulting in satisfactory weight gain. Breastfeeding initiation and duration is increased with more babies receiving exclusive breastfeeding, babies experience no additional risk of infection and a reduction of the occurrence and severity of hospital acquired infections is a major benefit for the baby. KMC babies can also be discharged to home sooner.

Benefits to the parents include an increased sense of bonding with their baby, an increased confidence in caring for their baby, continuation of the interrupted nurturing role as a mother and the empowerment to become the primary caregiver again. Skin-to-skin care also enables both fathers and mothers to participate in their baby's care.

Benefits to the hospital include significant cost-savings, since babies go home sooner and staff experienced improved moral, due to better infant survival and improved quality care.


Midwife Tina Otte share the wonder of skin-to-skin care in this video

How to do KMC?

The naked baby (except for a nappy) is placed in a curled up position between the mother’s breasts or on dad’s chest and supported by a wrap or snug shirt. The baby’s head need to be supported to keep the airway open and hands close to the face will support self-regulation. Even babies that are stable on a ventilator and babies on CPAP can be cared for in skin-to-skin care. Do not delay until the baby is stable, since skin-to-skin care helps to reach this physiological stability.

KMC and tube feed KMC and technology KMC while sleeping
KMC and tube feeding KMC and Technology
Sleeping in the KMC position
 Mom KMC Twins 2  Dad KMC
 KMC twins Dad doing KMC 

Kangaroo discharge refers to the fact that many LBW infants can be discharged earlier (if KMC is continued at home). Discharge irrespective of weight is possible once the baby is feeding satisfactorily and weight gain is maintained. KMC is continued at home until the baby reaches a weight of 2 – 3 kg or when the baby becomes restless and protests when tied in the KMC position. KMC should not be seen as an alternative, but rather as the gold standard of care.

Dr Welma Lubbe shares about baby wearing



#1 Little Steps - Skin to Skin Contact9apps 2017-07-18 19:02
Superb, what a webpage it is! This blog gives helpful information to us, keep it up.

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