Kangaroo Mother Care: Know 7 Things About This Caring Method From An Expert

Kangaroo mother care is a caring method for newborn babies, especially premature. Know more about it from an expert.

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Dec 17, 2021Updated at: Dec 17, 2021
Kangaroo Mother Care: Know 7 Things About This Caring Method From An Expert

The kangaroo is an Australian mammal. She always gives birth to a preterm baby. The premature young kangaroo stays in her mother's pouch until it is old enough to survive outside 1, where it receives warmth and exclusive breast feeding. What is Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) and how does it work? KMC is a simple approach of low birth weight newborn care that incorporates early and sustained skin-to-skin contact with the mother (or a replacement caregiver) as well as exclusive and frequent nursing. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Chandrika Anand MD,DNB, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Nagarbhavi, to know about the benefits of kangaroo mother care and how to do it. 

1. The components of kangaroo mother care are as follows:

  • Skin-to-skin contact is the first step.
  • Breastfeeding exclusively
  • Duration of KMC - 
  • Short: 4 hours daily* 
  • extended: 5-8 hours daily*
  • long: 9-12 hours daily* 
  • Continuous: More than12 hours daily

KMC begins in the hospital and continues at home until the infant no longer requires it, and regular follow-up is required for optimal care.


2. What are the benefits of using KMC?

KMC satisfies the infant's five senses. The infant senses the warmth of the mother through skin-to-skin contact (touch), hears her voice and heartbeat (hearing), sucks breast milk (taste), sees her (vision), and smells her odour (olfaction). This natural method of human care regulates body temperature, encourages breastfeeding, and protects against infection and other diseases. This also leads to an earlier discharge, improved neurodevelopment, and mother-infant attachment.

3. What babies require KMC?

Low birth weight refers to babies who weigh less than 2,500 grammes at birth, which might be related to preterm birth, small size for gestational age, or both. Preterm babies are those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. KMC should be started as soon as possible for newborns weighing less than 2000 grammes.

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4. Who can look after kangaroos?

Mothers, fathers, and other adult family members can provide KMC. The KMC provider should be willing, healthy, and free of significant sickness, as well as maintain minimum hygienic requirements such as hand washing, daily bathing, cut fingernails, tied hair, and clean clothes. Jewellery, watches, and holy threads should be removed since they may be a barrier to maintaining hygiene and may injure the newborn.


5. What is the best way to give KMC?

Mother: KMC can be offered in any front-open, light attire that is appropriate for the local culture. KMC is suitable for usage with a sari-blouse, gown, or shawl. A suitable garment, such as a kangaroo pouch, baby bag, sari, or binder, can be customised locally to keep the infant safe for a longer amount of time.

Child: Infants should wear a cap, socks, disposable diapers, and a front-open sleeveless shirt or 'jhabala' made of a soft natural fabric such as cotton. 

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Do not bathe child until he or she weighs 2,500 g; sponging may be used in the meanwhile. Do not handle infant excessively. Do not offer bottle feed. Do not allow infant to come into contact with sick person.

7. When should KMC be phased out?

When a kangaroo mother's pregnancy reaches term or the baby weighs around 2,500 grammes, the infant is frequently removed from her care. When the mother tries to place the newborn back in skin-to-skin contact, the infant starts wiggling to show that he or she is unhappy, pulls out the limbs from the kangaroo garment, and cries and fusses. It's time to wean the baby off of KMC at this point.