Kangaroo Care

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Credit Hours: 2.0 Hours

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There is a treatment available that can improve infant weight gain, sleep patterns, and brain development.  The treatment is called kangaroo care and it comes without any negative effects or a price tag.  Kangaroo care is the simple act of a parent holding their newborn baby against their bare skin.  It releases hormones in both parent and child that have positive effects.  The following article will discuss how kangaroo care can be performed and the benefits it provides.


  • Defining kangaroo care
  • History
  • Benefits
  • Physiology
  • How to perform kangaroo care
  • Practical Considerations
  • Example Guidelines

What is Kangaroo Care?

In 2015, the CDC reported 3,978,497 births in the United States.  Delivery of an infant is the most common hospital admitting diagnosis.  Obstetrics accounts for 10% of all hospital care.  Kangaroo care is one therapy that has benefits for two patients – new mother and baby.  Kangaroo care is incredibly simple.  It can actually be either parent holding their infant.  There are only two requirements for the holding technique to be considered kangaroo care.  The first is that the infant is in a prone position against the parents’ chest.  The second requirement is that the infant is clad only in a diaper and is placed against the bare skin of the parents’ chest.  The infant may wear a hat and have a blanket placed across its back.  This technique is also called skin to skin contact or skin to skin holding.

Kangaroo care was developed in 1979 in Bogota, Colombia.  Dr. Hector Gomez Martinez and Dr. Edgar Sanabria Rey were the physicians that are credited with developing the kangaroo care experiment.  This therapy was developed out of necessity.  Hospitals were overcrowded and supplies and equipment were outdated and scarce.  Infant mortality rate was high.  For the experiment, premature infants and low birth weight infants were placed on their mothers’ chests rather than incubators.  This allowed for families to return home rather than stay at crowded hospitals where infection was rampant.  The experiment was a success and infant survival greatly improved.

Course Curriculum

  • Lessons  0/9

    • What is Kangaroo Care?
    • History of Kangaroo Care
    • Benefits
    • Physiology of Kangaroo Care
    • How to perform kangaroo care
    • Kangaroo Care for NICU patients
    • Practical Considerations
    • Example Kangaroo Care Delivery Guidelines
    • References
  • Quiz   0/1

    • Quiz – Kangaroo Care