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.
Introduction: the problem - improving care and outcome for low-birth-weight babies; kangaroo mother care - what it is and why it matters?; what is this document about?; how should this document be used? Evidence; mortality and morbidity; breastfeeding and growth; thermal control and metabolism; other effects; research needs. Requirements: settings; policy; staffing; mother; facilities, equipment and supplies; feeding babies; discharge and home care. Practica guide; when to start KMC; initiating KMC; kangaroo position; caring for the baby in kangaroo position; length and duration of KMC; monitoring baby's condition; feeding; monitoring growth; preventive treatment; stimulation; discharge; KMC at home and routine follow up. Appendices: records and indicators; birth weight and gestational age; constraints.