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Kangaroo Mother Care- Procedure and Benefits

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Kangaroo care is an approach to providing skin-to-skin contact to premature babies. It is proven to be one of the most medically effective techniques for them.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Published At September 26, 2022
Reviewed AtOctober 5, 2022

What Is Kangaroo Mother Care?

There are millions of babies born each year with low birth weight due to premature birth or some deficiencies related to growth. With different treatment plans, this number can be improved. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is one of the most effective and easy-to-use techniques to support the growth of newborn babies. In such cases, KMC is initiated during hospital stay under the observation of a healthcare provider.

During this technique, a newborn (without clothes) is closely held near to the bare chest of the mother or father for a few hours; skin-to-skin contact is very important here. It not only improves the vitals of premature babies but also creates a strong bond with them. A soft blanket or hospital gown is wrapped around the parent and the baby for warmth, just like a mommy kangaroo carrying her baby, hence the name “Kangaroo mother care technique.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “when in 1970, premature babies were dying at the rate of 70 %, researchers found that babies who were held close to their mothers’ bodies for large portions of the day not only survived but thrived.”

What Are the Components of Kangaroo Mother Care?

It has two main components, such as:

  • Skin to Skin Contact: The baby is held onto the chest of the father or mother, and it provides many health benefits for both of them.

  • Kangaroo Mother Care With Breastfeeding: The mother feeds breast milk to the baby exclusively. It not only helps the baby but also increases the breast milk flow in the mother and helps the baby to learn the sucking technique.

What Are the Benefits of Kangaroo Mother Care?

  • Benefits of Kmc to the Baby

    • Thermal Control: When the mother breastfeeds the baby, the temperature of the breasts changes to match the newborn. For instance, if the baby’s body temperature is cool, the temperature of the breast increases, and that warms up the baby.

    • Immunity Boost: When the mother holds the baby close to the skin, it keeps him warm with undisturbed sleep. The research show relation between undisturbed sleep and the innate and adaptive immunity of the baby by increasing the level of a protein called cytokines. Cytokines play an essential role in fighting inflammation or infection in the body.

    • Stable Vitals: With this technique, blood oxygen levels are stabilized. When the infant is held against the bare skin in an upright position by either of the parents, it stabilizes the breathing pattern.

    • Early Discharge From Hospital: Due to stable and improved health.

    • Improved Neural Behavior: When a baby is held close to the mother in the upright position, that boosts the neural response in his body, and the touch of the mother assures and soothes him that he is well taken care of.

    • Rapid Weight Gain: When the baby is held against the skin of the mother, it regulates sleep while maintaining the body temperature. This not only saves energy and reorients the calorie use that promotes weight gain and growth.

  • Benefits of Kmc to the Mother

    • Breastfeeding: Increases breast milk flow.

    • Creates Mother-Baby Bond: It improves the bond between the baby and the mother with skin-to-skin contact.

    • Increases Confidence: KMC can increase the confidence in parents that they are capable of taking care of their baby.

    • Increases the Control: KMC boosts the sense of control in parents.

  • Benefits of Kmc to the Community

    • Reduced Morbidities: KMC reduces the death ratio, especially in children with birth-related complications.

How to Practice Kangaroo Mother Care?

The baby is held between the mother's breasts in an upright position.

  • The head of the baby should lay between the breast in an upright position for better breathing and must be turned to one side so that the baby can make eye contact with the mother.

  • Legs and arms should be folded, and the baby’s abdomen should be at the level of the mother’s upper abdomen level.

  • Support the baby's bottom with a binder.

  • The baby’s back should be covered with a cloth or blanket to keep him warm and cozy.

  • Both the mother and the baby should be comfortably positioned; breathing should be normal and rhythmic. It is very important for a mother to focus on her child while herself being in a relaxed position.

  • Allow your baby to snuggle and relax while falling asleep. It helps to give the baby an uninterrupted sleep.

  • The mother must use this method multiple times a day or, if not, at least four hours per week. However, it is best to take advice from a doctor or nurse for extended sessions in a day.

  • The kangaroo mother care provides the best position for newborns to relax and rest with deep sleep. A mother should let the baby have a relaxing time without disturbing him, and meanwhile, she should also relax for a while.

  • However, if the baby has arterial monitoring lines or other respiratory resuscitation treatment, this method is not viable for them as it does not provide a comfortable position.

Feeding the infant:

  • In the same position mentioned above, the baby is fed, which stimulates the milk flow in the mother.

  • Even if the baby is fed with a spoon or bottle, this is a very comfortable position for the baby.

What Are the Habits to Avoid During Kangaroo Mother Care?

The bellow mentioned habits should be avoided while practicing kangaroo mother care:

  • The mother or father should avoid using a phone or any other electronic device, as it not only distracts the caregivers but also it is a safety hazard.

  • If the mother is not feeling well or has an infection or health-related issue, she should discontinue the treatment until her recovery.

  • The session should be of at least 60 minutes for the mother and the baby to relax.

  • The parent who is giving KMC should avoid smoking or other harmful substance consumption.

  • It is better to take a bath without the application of perfumed clothes or moisturizers before kangaroo care.


After birth, the newborn is more susceptible to infection due to immature and developing immunity. Proper breastfeeding and regular sleep are essential for the healthy growth of newborns. Kangaroo care is the most unharmful yet most effective option of treatment for babies. It not only promotes healthy growth but also stabilizes the vitals of the newborn.

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham



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