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Kangaroo Mother Care

A Practical Guide


Some 20 million low-birth-weight babies are born each year, because of either preterm birth or impaired prenatal growth, mostly in less developed countries. For many small preterm infants, receiving prolonged medical care is important. However, kangaroo mother care is an effective way to meet baby's needs for warmth, breastfeeding, protection from infection, stimulation, safety and love. Kangaroo mother care is care of preterm infants carried skin-to-skin with the mother. It is a powerful, easy-to-use method to promote the health and well-being of infants. This document describes the kangaroo mother care method for care of stable preterm/low-birth-weight infants who need thermal protection, adequate feeding, frequent observation, and protection from infection. It provides guidance on how to organize services at the referral hospital and on what is needed to introduce and carry out kangaroo mother care, focusing on settings where resources are limited. Evidence for the recommendations are provided whenever possible. This book has been prepared for health professionals in charge of low-birth-weight and preterm newborn infants in first referral hospitals in settings with scarce resources. It is also aimed at decision-makers and planners at national and local levels.