Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is a simple, low-cost intervention in which mothers serve as human incubators for their newborns. In KMC a preterm baby is wrapped skin-to-skin to their chests, helping meet the baby’s needs for warmth, breastfeeding, protection from infection and love. KMC is one of the most effective ways to save preterm babies.
Compared with incubator care, KMC has been found to reduce infection including sepsis, hypothermia, severe illness, lower respiratory tract disease, and length of hospital stay. Babies cared for with KMC show improved weight gain, length, and head circumference, breastfeeding, and mother-infant bonding.
KMC has three main components including:
- Thermal care through continuous skin-to-skin contact
- Support for exlusive breastfeeding or other appropriate feeding
- Early recognition and response to complications
KMC can be started after birth as soon as the baby is clinically stable, and can be continued at home until the baby is stronger and begins to wriggle out which is often around the time the baby would have been born if they had been full term.
Photo Credit: Genna Naccache/Save the Children
KMC Saves Newborn Lives
The International Journal of Epidemiology published the first meta-analysis showing that Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) substantially reduces neonatal mortality among preterm babies (birth weight <2000g) in hospitals. The authors also concluded that KMC is highly effective in reducing severe morbidity, particular from infection. Learn More
Born Too Soon: KMC Saves Preterms