Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is a special way of caring for low birth weight (LBW) infants that was introduced in 1978 by Dr. Edgar Rey and Dr. Hector Martinez of the Institute Metrno Infantil at Bogota Colombia San Juan De Dios Hospital.
Kangaroo Mother Care Procedure
It involves holding the low birth weight baby close to the mother’s chest through skin-to-skin contact.
This form of care promotes the health and well-being of the baby by providing effective thermal control, breastfeeding, and bonding.
The main components of KMC include the kangaroo position, skin-to-skin contact on the mother’s chest, and exclusive breastfeeding.
Position of baby and mother In KMC
The kangaroo position refers to the baby being securely held on the mother’s chest, creating a warm and nurturing environment.
This position allows for direct, continuous, and prolonged skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her baby, which helps to regulate the baby’s body temperature.
Exclusive breastfeeding is an integral part of KMC,
as it promotes lactation and feeding interaction. Breast milk has numerous advantages for babies, including its anti-infective properties,
which can help reduce the incidence and severity of ear infections, respiratory illnesses, allergies, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Breastfed babies also tend to have milder-smelling stools and are less likely to experience constipation.
Additionally, breastfeeding has been linked to a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and higher IQ levels in children.
For mothers, nursing immediately following delivery helps the uterus contract, reducing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
Breastfeeding also aids in the shrinking of the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly. It is estimated that breastfeeding burns approximately 20 calories to produce an ounce of milk,
contributing to postpartum weight loss. Furthermore, breastfeeding has been associated with a lower risk of osteoporosis and cervical cancer, and it delays the return of fertility.
KMC is suitable for all stable LBW babies,
particularly those weighing below 2000 grams. It can be initiated soon after birth in stable infants, while sick LBW infants may require a few days to start KMC.
In such cases, it is essential to transfer the sick baby to a proper facility for immediate care. Even infants who are on IV fluid therapy or tube feeding can still benefit from KMC.
Benefits of KMC
The benefits of KMC extend beyond the immediate postpartum period. Breastfed children have a lower risk of developing Crohn’s disease, and adult daughters
who were breastfed are at a reduced risk of breast cancer. Adults who were breastfed also have a lower risk of high cholesterol and asthma. Additionally,
many mothers find satisfaction in knowing that they alone are meeting the nutritional needs of their babies through breastfeeding.
Kangaroo Mother Care is a valuable care option, especially for low birth weight babies. It promotes bonding, breastfeeding, and effective thermal control, leading to improved health and well-being for both the baby and the mother.
By providing the necessary components of KMC, such as the kangaroo position, skin-to-skin contact, and exclusive breastfeeding, healthcare providers can ensure that LBW infants receive the best possible care.