State of the art and recommendations. Kangaroo mother care: application in a high-tech environment.
Abstract: Since Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) was developed in Colombia in the 1970s, two trends in clinical application emerged. In low-income settings, the original KMC modelis implemented. Thus consists of continuous (24 h/day, 7 days/week) and prolonged mother/ parent--infant skin-to-skin contact; early discharge with the infant in the kangaroo position; (ideally) exclusive breastfeeding; and, adequate follow up. In affluent settings, intermittent KMC with sessions of one or a few hours skin-to-skin contact for a limited period is common. As a result of the increasing evidence of the benefits of KMC for both infants and families in all intensive care settings, KMC in a high-tech environment was chosen as the topic for the first European Conference on KMC, and the clinical implementation of the KMC model in all types of settings was discussed at the 7th International Workshop on KMC. Kangaroo Mother Care protocols in high-tech Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) should specify criteria for initiation, kangaroo position, transfer to/from KMC, transport in kangaroo position, kangaroo nutrition, parents' role, modification of the NICU environment, performance of care in KMC, and KMC in case of infant instability. Conclusion: Implementation of the original KMC method, with continuous skin-to-skin contact whenever possible, is recommended for application in high-tech environments, although scientific evaluation should continue.

Key words: implementation; infant preterm; kangaroo mother care; neonatal intensive care, skin-to-skin contact

Reprinted with permission from Acta Padiatrica 2010, 99:812-19
Article Type: Report
Subject: Infants (Premature) (Care and treatment)
Breast feeding (Methods)
Birth weight, Low (Care and treatment)
Authors: Nyqvist, K.H
Anderson, G.C.
Bergman, N.
Cattaneo, A.
Charpak, N.
Davanzo, R.
Ewald, U.
Ludington-Hoe, S.
Mendoza, S.
Pallas-Allonso, C.
Pelaez, J.G.
Sizun, J.
Wistrom, A.-M.
Pub Date: 11/01/2010
Publication: Name: Breastfeeding Review Publisher: Australian Breastfeeding Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Australian Breastfeeding Association ISSN: 0729-2759
Issue: Date: Nov, 2010 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 3
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Sweden Geographic Code: 4EUSW Sweden
Accession Number: 245394567


Kangaroo mother care: origin, definitions and clinical application patterns

The Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) method, developed in 1978 by Rey & Martinez in Bogota, Colombia (1), was presented for the first time in 1985 as a model for the home care of low birth-weight (LBW) infants (2). These authors explained mother kangaroo was selected to illustrate the three key components of the model: warmth, breastmilk and love. Since then, the method has been widely introduced in clinical practice; however, two different application trends have emerged. In low-income settings, the original method with ideally 24 h/day of mother--infant skin-to-skin care (SSC) in the kangaroo position (KP) is implemented: this method is termed continuous KMC (C-KMC). In affluent settings, the method is implemented as limited sessions with mother--infant SSC in KP, such as one or a few hours, not necessarily every day, occurring over a limited period. Terms commonly used to denote this pattern of application are skin-to-skin care/contact or kangaroo care (KC): in this article, intermittent KMC (I-KMC) will be used as a label for this approach. The term KMC will therefore be used to represent SSC in KP practiced as both continuous and intermittent skin-to-skin care. As there are two diverging implementation models, the original, complete KMC method was clarified at a workshop of the International Network of KMC (INK) in 1996. The KMC method is defined as: 'Early, prolonged, and continuous skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her newborn low-birth-weight infant (<2500 g, viz. preterm and/or low-birth-weight infant), both in hospital and after early discharge, with (ideally) exclusive breastfeeding, and proper follow up'. Recommendations are given for three different levels for applying the method, depending on availability of health and medical care resources (3), although two diverging trends are presented in research literature. In low-income settings, KMC is essentially a total health-care strategy, and the effects of the original KMC model with continuous or nearly continuous skin-to-skin contact have been evaluated with infant mortality and morbidity, growth, and breastfeeding as the main outcome variables (4-10). In affluent settings, the first component of KMC is mainly considered, i.e. skin-to-skin contact. It is not a standard policy to offer KMC, and the extent of parent--infant exposure to KMC varies widely; sessions lasting 1 h/day are a common pattern (11). A survey of 284 NICUs in eight European countries (12) determined routine offers of KMC to mothers occurred with country rates range from 41% to 100% of the participating NICUs in each country. Offers were given 'on request sometimes' with country rates of 6-40%, and 'only given on request' in 5/8 countries with rates between 2% and 18%. 'No offers' to mothers were reported from hospitals in three countries with rates between 2% and 18%. The corresponding rates of offers to fathers are lower: 3-11%, 10-49%, 32-100% and 2-45%. Only Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium have policies that support equal participation of both parents in their infants' skin-to-skin care.

In one randomized controlled trial (RCT) (13), the intervention group were subjected to KMC at least 4 h/day in not more than three sittings. A mean of 13.5 h/day has been reported (10). But even periods of KMC as short as 20 min were used in one intervention study (14). However, some intervention studies do not present exact data on duration or frequency of KMC sessions.

Research supporting application of C-KMC in a high-tech environment

A wide range of outcomes is addressed in studies on the effects of KMC. Most outcome variables can be considered universal, as they apply equally to all levels of care in both low-income and affluent settings. In high-tech NICUs, common outcome measures in SSC studies (15-18) which showed improved or maintained stability, even in very preterm infants, are; infant physiological response, such as heart rate; respiration; oxygen saturation; and temperature. A Cochrane review (19) concludes SSC is superior to routine measures for preventing hypothermia; however, only one study on skin-to-skin contact (16) was included in the review. Lower infant cortisol during KMC is noted (18). During transport between hospitals, physiological parameters are stable in infants transported in KP by parents, if available, or otherwise by hospital staff with parental consent (20). Furthermore, KMC is efficacious in decreasing pain response in preterm and very preterm infants during painful procedures, experiences to which these infants are frequently exposed during their hospital stay (21-23). Positive effects on infants' sleep patterns and effects that can be interpreted as improved brain maturation (24, 25) and benefits for neurobehavioral and psychomotor development are observed (26-28).

Other common outcome variables include psychosocial aspects of parent--infant KMC, such as healing from parental crisis reactions after the birth of a preterm infant (29), and improved parent--infant interaction (28). Recovery from postpartum depression in mothers of preterm infants after early introduction of KMC is observed (30) and mothers who practiced 1-h KMC sessions for at least 2 weeks are less stressed and perceived their preterm infants as less difficult than mothers of infants with conventional neonatal care (care without KMC) do (31). Salivary cortisol decreases in mothers of infants born at a gestational age (GA) of 25-33 weeks and who practise KMC (32). Oxytocin release is suggested as one mediator for these effects of SSC, with short- and long-term consequences on maternal chest temperature and infant temperature, lactation and breastfeeding, maternal levels of anxiety and social competence, and mother--infant interaction (33). In addition, a more optimal home environment is created when both mothers and fathers are involved in continuous and prolonged KMC than in the home environment of parents whose infants received conventional neonatal care (28).

Even short periods of KMC are associated with a higher breastfeeding rate, longer duration, and higher proportions of exclusive breastfeeding in hospital and during follow-up (34-38). Early breastfeeding competence has been observed even in very preterm infants, with capacity for nutritive sucking from 29 post-menstrual weeks, and attainment of full breastfeeding several weeks before the due date of delivery and as early as at a post-menstrual age of 32 weeks (39). These findings support the initiation of KMC and breastfeeding without unwarranted delays: a policy that facilitates early discharge from hospital. Early skin-to-skin contact in term infants has significant effects on breastfeeding rates and duration (40).

Clinical guidelines for KMC

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued practical guidelines for C-KMC in response to the increasing and compelling evidence from both low-income and affluent settings (41). Although the recommendations were intended for all types of settings and because of the urgency of promoting

KMC where it is most needed, the guidelines were formulated to address environments mainly with high levels of neonatal mortality and scarcity of skilled health workers and medical care facilities. Particular emphasis was placed on safe kangaroo-position practices, exclusive breastfeeding, and early discharge with adequate follow-up (individualized, based on the infant's GA at birth, current post-menstrual age and medical condition, and the family's situation) and support for home care. Clinical guidelines with detailed practical recommendations for the application of C-KMC have been issued by the Kangaroo Foundation in Bogota, Columbia, and are based on long-standing clinical experience, extensive research on the method, and a systematic literature review (42). The 'Guideline for Kangaroo Care of Infants from a Postmenstrual Age of 30 weeks', issued by the US National Association of Neonatal Nurses, was formulated explicitly for neonatal intensive care. This guideline reflects the I-KMC model and is based on detailed evidence regarding skin-to- skin contact in this group of infants, and particular emphasis is placed on the assessment of infant, parental, and institutional readiness for KMC; criteria for allowing initiation; the need for termination of a KMC session; and, prevention of possible hazards (43). The authors recommend a KMC session should ideally last at least 65 min. At the same time, in a concluding suggestion for 'Ten Steps to Successful Kangaroo Care', the principle of the original KMC method is maintained: 'Practice 24/7 KC, allowing mothers and infants to remain in skin-to-skin contact 24 h a day, 7 days a week until discharge.' However, breastfeeding support, early discharge and follow-up are not addressed. National guidelines have been promulgated, for example in Brazil, where a national programme was launched in 2006 for supporting the consistent provision of C-KMC to all LBW infants and their mothers in special KMC wards, instead of a system for early discharge and home care (44). This programme includes a third stage, in which early discharge to the home instead of to a kangaroo ward will be implemented in the future. To succeed in the implementation of KMC, local acceptability is essential. In an Australian study (45), neonatal nurses identified an absence of clear protocols for low-birth-weight infants as one main concern in the implementation of KMC. In a Swedish study on the implementation of KMC guidelines (46), nurses' uncertainty about the importance of KMC and the perception KMC means more strain for the mother emerged as obstacles for increasing KMC sessions. In a neonatal care conference (NYU, Cornell, and Columbia) held in New York in 2009, the participants were asked whether they applied KMC in their NICUs. Although nearly 80% of the participants acknowledged that they used KMC, there were only two NICUs with established explicit KMC protocols (J.G. Ruiz, personal communication).

Progression from intermittent to continuous KMC

Instead of distinguishing between intermittent and continuous KMC, the implementation pattern should rather be conceptualized as a logical progression from short periods of skin-to-skin contact, I-KMC, and eventually C-KMC. These periods should occur in combination with support and empowerment of the parents and the family, and the establishment of breastfeeding. All this should lead to preparation for discharge in parent or KMC rooms, and early discharge home in KP. After a period of introduction, including sensitization of the staff, implementation of C-KMC in a unit should commence with low risk infants.


Guiding principles

Preterm infants should be considered extero-gestational foetuses needing KMC to promote maturation. After the uterus, maternal/parental--infant SSC is the expected evolutionary environment for development. All intrapartum and postnatal care should adhere to a paradigm of non-separation of infants and their parents. Kangaroo Mother Care should be used for warming, comfort, physiological and psychological benefits, growth, development, and the psychosocial needs of the family, and to promote lactation, breastfeeding initiation and longer breastfeeding duration.

Prenatally and on arrival at the unit, parents should be provided with adequate oral and written information (Table 1). The KP is the preferred routine place for care, beginning at birth, taking into consideration the physiological and behavioral state of the infant and parent; it is possible that KMC may contribute to the infant's stabilization. Removal from this place of care should be for specific reasons only. For infants born at a gestational age of 27 weeks or less, decisions about the initiation and timing of KMC sessions during the first week of life should be based on individual medical assessment (47-49).

Mothers/parents should be offered adequate support for physical, social and mental wellbeing. Kangaroo Mother Care should be used for transfer of the infant to the neonatal unit after birth (when appropriate), within the hospital, and between hospitals: this should be carried out with portable equipment for cardio-respiratory monitoring, assisted ventilation and other required medical technical support (Table 2). Personnel can demonstrate support of KP by wearing KC binders/slings with babies/dolls, or by displaying KMC mannequins. The choice of transfer strategy should address maximal prevention of hypothermia and infant physiological destabilization.

Visiting regulations should accommodate 24/7 KMC, in that there should be no restrictions for parents' presence or for persons designated as KMC surrogates by the parents (Table 3). If economic restrictions and social policies create obstacles for allowing parents to stay as much as they wish with their infants, interventions should be implemented for optimal changes, including advocacy for maternity leave policies allowing parents to provide KMC. The physical environment should be adapted as far as possible for parents' and infants' maximum relaxation and comfort (depending on available economic resources). Parents should be involved in the infant's care soon after birth, and coached to take over the infant's care before the infant is discharged from hospital (50). Staff should actively ask parents how their extended presence and provision of KMC can be facilitated, and provide practical assistance, when requested, to prevent parental exhaustion, boredom and attrition.

During KMC, monitoring, nursing and medical care is provided according to current standards, with the infant's place of care as the only difference (Table 4). Most nursing and medical procedures can be performed with the infant in KP, day and night. Parents should receive guidance on observation and interpretation of infant behavioral signs of stability or instability, according to NIDCAP principles (Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program), and how they can assist the infant in his/her activities for self-regulation before and during KMC (51) (Table 5). For unstable infants, decisions about KMC sessions are based on ongoing physiological assessment. If instability occurs during KMC, relevant nursing and medical measures should be taken with the infant remaining in KP, and KP should only be discontinued when these measures do not produce the expected improvement: adjusting the infant's kangaroo position and ascertaining maximum infant--parent KMC is a primary activity to undertake and evaluate. Primary responsibilities include monitoring the maintenance of the correct kangaroo position for safety and the maximum KMC for effectiveness. Kangaroo Mother Care may be used during terminal care in agreement with parents (52, 53).

Staff attitudes and responsibility

Usually (although there are exceptions), the physical and social environment in a NICU nursery does not convey signals to parents that invite them to stay with their infant. This places particular demands on the staff, as the support of parent--infant bonding is a primary goal. This is achieved by communicating to parents that they are the most important people in the infant's life, the ones their infant becomes accustomed and attuned to during pregnancy, and assuring them KMC helps the infant be calmer and stable, as the infant can feel, see, hear and smell the parent. Kangaroo Mother Care should be upheld as the gold standard pervading all medical and nursing care, in that the KP is the optimal place for care of preterm /LBW and sick infants. Activities for helping parents to perform KMC willing and capably are essential components in the role of all NICU professionals (43).

Parental consent about KMC and participation in the infant's care should be documented in the daily assessment form at the bedside and in the infant's care plan, and evaluated in connection with rounds and reports at the beginning of working shifts. Parents usually have a very fast learning curve and soon become valuable partners in the care of their infants. As part of routine documentation of all nursing and medical care, the exact times when I-KMC sessions commences and ends, total daily duration of KMC, and the longer interruptions in C-KMC that occur when the infant is placed in another location for care (cot, parent bed, perambulator etc.) should be recorded on the daily assessment form by staff or parents (K.H. Nyqvist, personal communication).

Concluding recommendation

These recommendations for enhanced practice of KMC, including continuous skin-to-skin contact whenever possible also in high-tech NICUs, are offered by the Expert Group and the 7th KMC Workshop for clinical application and evaluation.


The authors express their gratitude to the John Lind Memorial Fund for supporting the participation of Dr. N. Charpak in the 1st European Conference on Kangaroo Mother Care as John Lind Lecturer, and thereby, also in the preparation and compilation of this document.


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KH Nyqvist, and an Expert Group of the International Network an Kangaroo Mother Care: GC Anderson, N Bergman, A Cattaneo, N Charpak, R Davanzo, U Ewald, S Ludington-Hoe, S Mendoza, C Pallas-Allonso JG Pelaez, J Sizun and A-M Wistrom

Correspondence to: Kerstin Hedberg Nyqvist

Department of Women's and Children's Health

University Hospital, Uppsala

751 85, Sweden

Table 1. Parent information and initiation

Parent information   Contents. Benefits for infant and parents,
                     practical aspects of performance, timing of
                     initiation, substitute KMC provider.
                     Timing. Ideally before delivery, both parents
                     present; continued throughout hospitalization.

Initiation of KMC    Continuous KMC from birth; exceptions--infant
GA [greater than     medical condition or parents/substitute
or equal to] 32      unavailable.
weeks                Initial infant assessment on mother's chest in
                     delivery room if possible.
                     Mild problems in adaptation after birth:
                     Immediately after initial stabilization, as
                     permitted by infant's condition and care.
                     Infant with CPAP: After stabilization, transport
                     to mother for KMC with monitoring and observation
                     (CPAP/ventilator treatment does not constitute an
                     obstacle to KMC).

GA 28-31 weeks       Immediately after initial
                     assessment/stabilization, as permitted by infant's
                     medical condition and care.

GA <27 weeks         During first week of life: based on individual
                     medical assessment (weight loss, sensitivity,

C-section            Short period on mother's chest immediately in the
                     operating room, if possible continued during
                     post-op observation. Afterwards the mother is
                     assisted with transportation to the NICU for as
                     much KMC as possible without unjustified
                     restrictions: father/substitute act as primary KMC
                     When mother is unable to visit NICU after
                     delivery, infant can be transported to her in
                     kangaroo position (KP) by father (accompanied by
                     NICU staff when required to monitor the infant),
                     or in transport incubator by NICU staff, who
                     remain to observe and care for the infant and
                     assist the mother in providing KP, if this is

Maternal criteria    Mother unable to visit the NICU because of her own
                     condition and care: infant transported in kangaroo
                     position by father or in transport incubator by
                     staff to the mother's unit for as much KMC as
                     possible. Father acts as primary KMC provider.

Duration of          Give infants KMC sessions that last at least 1 h.

GA = Gestational age; KMC = Kangaroo mother care; KP = Kangaroo

Father includes partner and substitute designated as kangaroo mother
care provider by the family.

Table 2. Transport, clothing and transfer

Transport in         From delivery/operating room to NICU: GA [greater
kangaroo position    than or equal to] 28 weeks and (a) no ventilatory
                     assistance (regardless of infant's GA): on
                     mother's or father's chest in bed or wheel chair,
                     and (b) infant with moderate/mild problems with
                     temperature, respiration, circulation: as above
                     after assessment by attending neonatologist, and
                     with continued physiological monitoring by
                     portable monitor. KMC clothing: available in the
                     delivery/ operating room as standard equipment on
                     transport incubator.
                     Between NICU and other hospital facilities (X-ray
                     etc.); between hospitals: Stethoscope and
                     equipment for resuscitation, monitoring,suctioning
                     and oxygen treatment (attached to transporting
                     device on wheels or attached to a baby
                     In ambulance or helicopter: Preferably on parent's
                     chest. See above.

KMC clothing         Parent: Tube top, KMC blouse/shirt and sling:
                     Demonstrate for the parent how to place infant in
                     correct kangaroo position.
                     Infant: Diaper and warm hat. When required: cover
                     back and head with warm insulating blanket/parent
                     clothing, socks.

Transfer between     Preparation: Parent prepares infant by gently
incubator/crib       holding her/him with still hands in a flexor
                     position (flexed arms and legs).
                     Modes of transfer: Standing transfer or sitting
                     transfer is used, with maximal prevention of
                     infant hypothermia and destabilization. The infant
                     can be lifted in the bedding/nest with standing or
                     sitting transfer. The bedding is removed once
                     infant has been placed in kangaroo position. An
                     insulating cape can be used during both transfer
                     and KMC sessions.
                     Infant with CPAP/ventilator treatment: A
                     parent/nurse disconnects airway tubing during
                     transfer and reconnects it as soon as KMC provider
                     is seated/lying down. During transfer, one or two
                     persons (parent/nurses) hold and secure tubing and
                     lines with tape on furniture/parent's clothing.
                     Parent autonomy: After training, parents who feel
                     confident can perform the transfer without

GA = Gestational age; KMC = Kangaroo mother care.

Father includes partner and substitute designated as kangaroo mother
care provider by the family.

Table 3. Supporting parents' presence and role

Parents' presence    No visiting restrictions for parents: There should
                     not be any restrictions regarding parents'
                     presence day or night.

Parent facilities    Intensive care nursery: (a) Inside the nursery:
                     enough space for parent bed and/or recliner; call
                     button within reach; provision of adequate privacy
                     by screens, curtains etc., or (b) single room,
                     ideally with bathroom/ shower. When this is not
                     possible: (c) parent room in close proximity to
                     the nursery or unit.
                     Intermediate care: Ideally, family (mother,
                     father, infant) stay together in one room day and
                     Room temperature, stimuli: Monitor environmental
                     temperature and avoid drafts. For a calming
                     environment for both infants and parents, ensure a
                     low sound level and level of illumination.
                     Breast pump: Ideally at the care space/parent
                     Kitchen/lounge: A place where parents can eat and
                     socialize with other parents.

Assistance of        Take initiative: Ask parents what they need to be
parents' role        able stay and perform KMC
                     Empowerment of parents: Tell parents about the
                     outstanding warmth and relaxation they can provide
                     their infant and how their scent contributes to
                     the attachment process. Highlight every behavioral
                     step the infant takes, even the smallest step can
                     make parents proud.
                     Parents as infant's primary care providers: Guide
                     and encourage parents to gradually take over the
                     infant's care, as much as they are able and
                     willing to do, and at a pace they can accept.
                     Prevention of parental exhaustion, especially
                     during continuous KMC: Encourage parents to ask
                     staff for desired nursing assistance. Provide
                     required assistance with infant's care, especially
                     when parents sleep/rest (tube feed while infant in
                     kangaroo position, or remove from KP temporarily;
                     Parents' co-operation: Encourage parents to take
                     turns with KMC.
                     KMC substitute: Suggest the option of letting a
                     substitute (relative/member of parents' social
                     network) provide KMC in their absence.

Activities of        Meals: Inform parents about how to obtain drinks
daily life           and food in hospital and to order take-out;
                     provide refrigerator, freezer, kitchen range,
                     micro-wave oven.
                     Communication: Offer parents the use of a
                     telephone when needed; provide access to computer
                     with Internet connection.
                     Prevention of boredom: Encourage parents to bring
                     reading material, handicraft, MP3/CD-player,
                     computer--to listen to music/radio/watch movies
                     etc., and to go to parent kitchen/lounge (with
                     infant in kangaroo position when possible). Inform
                     them about possibilities for receiving visitors.

KMC = Kangaroo mother care; KP = Kangaroo position.

Father includes partner and substitute designated as kangaroo mother
care provider by the family.

Table 4. Modification of stimuli, monitoring, performance of medical
and nursing care

Environmental        Light: Ensure ambient light levels do not exceed
stimuli              200 lux. Provide circadian light rhythmicity.
                     Sound: Divert all monitor alarms to central
                     stations; if not possible, keep monitor alarms at
                     low noise levels, and significant response alarm
                     at trigger levels.

Physiological        All medical treatment and assessments: Provided
monitoring           according to existing standards of care,
                     irrespective of KMC care or not.
                     Infant with continuous monitoring: Of ECG, pulse
                     oxymetry, tc pCO2 and pO2 is continued during KMC.
                     Infant without severe instability: ECG/pulse
                     oxymetery/intermittent tc pCO2 and pO2 may be
                     disconnected during KMC, but for infant safety:
                     only when parent is awake and able to assess
                     infant's physiological status: respiration, skin
                     color, muscle tone).
                     System for mobile telemetry/portable monitor,
                     wireless devise (pulse oxymetry): Allows parents
                     to be mobile while they provide KMC and when
                     infant requires physiological monitoring, for use
                     when parents leave the care space with the infant
                     in kangaroo position to go to parent kitchen etc.,
                     and during transport.

Nursing and          Planning of infant's care: continuously together
medical care         with parents. Aim to facilitate as long periods of
                     SSC as possible, according to parents' wishes.
                     Short interruptions in continuous KMC: Place
                     infant on warm waterbed (in crib / parent bed)
                     instead of incubator.
                     Performance of care and interventions: Tube
                     feeding, feeding tube insertion, diaper change,
                     blood sampling, i.v injection, insertion of i.v
                     cannula, chest auscultation, head ultrasound
                     examination etc., as far as possible with infant
                     in kangaroo position.
                     Safe performance of procedures: Lamp with direct
                     light at infant's care space (light directed away
                     from infant's eyes).
                     Comfortable performance of procedures: If
                     possible, KMC is provided on a parent bed/recliner
                     that is adjustable in height to accommodate the
                     comfort of the personnel.
                     Phototherapy: Maximum distance between infant and
                     lamp: not >30 cm. Alternative: fiberoptic blanket
                     on infant's back with infant's head and back
                     covered with blanket. Prevent infant heat loss by
                     surrounding infant's body with protective textiles
                     on all sides, except the side facing
                     lamp/fiberoptic blanket. Assess infant temperature
                     to prevent hypothermia.

KMC = Kangaroo mother care; SSC = Skin-to-skin care.

Father includes partner and substitute designated as kangaroo mother
care provider by the family.

Table 5. Kangaroo mother care and infant instability

Signs of             Observation: Observe infant for physiological
instability/         signs and NIDCAP signs of stability and
stability            instability (such as color change, flaccidity,
                     extension movements) before transfer and during
                     VLBW infants: Decisions about each KMC session
                     during first week of life are based on ongoing
                     assessment of weight loss, and high serum sodium
                     Guide parents in recognizing signs of
                     instability/stability: Coach parents in
                     recognizing physiological signs and NIDCAP signs
                     of stability and instability and in how they can
                     help the infant to regain stability before
                     transfer and in the kangaroo position.
                     Assistance of infant stability: Give support for
                     flexed position, support infant's strategies for
                     self-regulation (hands joined in midline/contact
                     with mouth/face, feet supported by
                     bedding/parent's hands, pacifier sucking). Inform
                     parents that infant stability and wellbeing are
                     enhanced by sufficiently tight support by KMC
                     clothing, and that holding with still hands
                     provides regulating stimulation, whereas patting
                     and stroking may cause instability.
                     Postpone transfer to KMC: At signs of infant
                     instability, assist infant stability and wait
                     until infant is calm and stable. At signs of
                     persistent instability, consider transfer to
                     kangaroo position for supporting improved

Instability during   First action: Control/adjust correct kangaroo
KMC                  position (straight trunk and neck; not a
                     slumped-together position, head turned sideways)
                     for fully patent airways. The position should
                     allow for diaphragmatic breathing.
                     Infant hypothermia: Make sure (a) the whole
                     frontal surface of the infant is in physical
                     contact with parent, no textiles (parent's
                     underwear) between them, (b) infant is inside
                     parent's clothes, infant wears a warm cap, and (d)
                     infant's head and back are adequately covered with
                     a cap and an insulating warm blanket. Parents
                     should wear appropriate KMC clothing for
                     maintenance of close physical contact.
                     Continued instability: Consider oral/nasal
                     suctioning, and/or suctioning in the endotracheal
                     Interruption of KMC: Only when all possible
                     measures have been taken without expected results.

When KMC is not      Abstain from KMC: Only when severe instability
possible             (severe apnea, color change, bradycardia,
                     desaturation) occurs in response to touch and
                     routine care giving procedures).
                     Physical and other contact when KMC is
                     notpossible: Inform parents about how to minimize
                     separation by gentle containing touch,
                     proprioceptive sense stimulation, presenting face
                     where infant can see it/have face-to-face visual
                     contact, talking and singing soothing lullabies,
                     and olfaction stimuli.

Severe               Transfer of instable infant to KMC: Can be used
instability,         when assessed as justified by responsible
terminal care        neonatologist.
                     KMC during terminal care: Can be offered to
                     parents respecting cultural end-of-life practices,
                     after parental consent.

KMC = Kangaroo mother care; NIDCAP = Newborn Individualized
Developmental Care and Assessment Program; VLBW = Very low birth

Father includes partner and substitute designated as KMC provider by
the family.
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