Perinatal Services BC is working to strengthen the integration of Kangaroo Care into the standard of care for all preterm infants across the province.
Kangaroo Care is the skin-to-skin holding of a preterm or low-birth weight infant against a parent's bare chest. A wrap is often used to secure the baby and provide containment. Kangaroo Care is made up of three important parts: (1) Early and prolonged skin-to-skin contact, (2) Support to breastfeed or provide human milk, and (3) Support of the parent and infant without separation, with timely discharge home, and appropriate follow-up.
- For preterm infants, Kangaroo Care has been shown to stabilize heart and breathing rates, regulate temperature, decrease pain and stress, particularly with painful procedures, improve the quality and duration of sleep, establish early breastfeeding behaviours, and support brain growth and development. Long-term positive effects such as improved cognitive functioning and behavioural and attention measures are present in children and young adults who received Kangaroo Care as an infant.
- Kangaroo Care is as important for mothers and families by decreasing the risk of maternal anxiety and depression, promoting bonding and attachment, improving parental confidence in ability to care for their baby, improving breast milk supply and improving rates of breastfeeding exclusivity and duration.
- The provincial project to strengthen Kangaroo Care in BC has recently published qualitative analysis of the barriers and enablers to the practice of Kangaroo Care in BC NICUs: What is stopping us? An implementation science study of kangaroo care in British Columbia’s Neonatal Intensive Care