Science Behind Kangaroo Care

 

The benefits are numerous for the parent and the baby.  Here are some of them:

Benefits for the parents include:

  • Enhanced attachment and bonding (Tessier et al., 1998).
  • Resilience and feelings of confidence, competence, and satisfaction regarding baby care (Tessier et al., 1998; Conde Agudelo, Diaz Rossello, & Belizan, 2003; Kirsten, Bergman, & Hann, 2001).
  • Increased milk volume, doubled rates of successful breastfeeding and increased duration of breastfeeding (Mohrbacher & Stock, 2003).
  • Physiologically her breasts respond to her infant's thermal needs (Ludington-Hoe et al., 2006).
  • Profoundly beneficial for adoptive parents with critically ill preterm infant (Parker L, Anderson GC. , 2002).

Benefits for the babies include:

  • Kangaroo Care reduces neonatal mortality (Conde-Agudelo et al, 2011).
  • Less incidence and severity of infection (Charpak N, Ruiz-Pelaez JG, Figuero de Calume Z, Charpak Y., 1997).
  • Accelerated autonomic and neurobehavioral development (Feldman R, Eidelman, 2003).
  • Promotes self-regulation in premature infants: sleep wake cyclicity, arousal modulation, and sustained exploration (Feldman R, Weller A, Sirota L, Eidelman A., 2002).
  • Consistently high and stable oxygen saturation levels, lower airway resistance, fewer apnea episodes, and an increased percentage of quiet sleep (Ludington- Hoe, Ferreira, & Goldstein, 1998).
  • Stable temperature within normal thermal zone, heart rate, and respiratory rate (Ludington-Hoe et al., 2010).
  • Reduced crying associated with painful procedures (Kostandy R, Ludington-Hoe SM, 2008).
  • Breast milk is readily available and accessible, and strengthens the infant's immune system.
  • The maternal contact causes a calming effect with decreased stress and rapid quiescence (McCain, Ludington-Hoe, Swinth, & Hadeed, 2005; Charpak et el., 2005).
  • Reduced physiological and behavioral pain responses (Ludington-Hoe, Hosseini, & Torowicz, 2005).
  • Increased weight gain (Charpak, Ruiz-Pelaez, & Figueroa, 2005).
  • Enhanced attachment and bonding (Tessier et al., 1998).
  • Positive effects on infant's cognitive development (Feldman, Eidelman, Sirota, & Weller, 2002).
  • Less nosocomial infection, severe illness, or lower respiratory tract disease (Conde-Argudelo, et. al., 2003).
  • Restful sleep (Ludington-Hoe et al., 2006).
  • Earlier hospital discharge (London et al., 2006).
  • Possible reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (see www.infactcanada.ca).
  • Normalized infant growth of premature infants (Charpak, Ruiz-Pelaez, & Figueroa, 2005).
  • May be a good intervention for colic (Ellett, Bleah, & Parris, 2002).
  • Possible positive effects in motor development of infants (Penalva & Schwartzman, 2006).
  • The critical stimuli to which the baby is exposed during KC are:
    Vestibular: the chest movement of the breathing of the parent, and walking if allowed
    Tactile: the skin and natural warmth of the parent on the bottom (chest), on the sides (breast of mother), and the back 
    Olfactory: the scent of the parent and the maternal breast milk.
    Auditory: by the voices and heartbeat of the parent.


Poster Presented at Graven's Conference (March 2013):
The Science Behind Kangaroo CareKangaroo Care Science
By Yamile Jackson, PhD, PE, PMP and Barbara Weaver, CCRN

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