Purpose: To determine whether breastfeeding behaviors, skin temperature, and blood glucose values could be influenced through the use of kangaroo care at the time of birth in healthy full term infants.
Method: Descriptive study with nine full term neonates given kangaroo care beginning within 1 minute of birth and continuing until completion of the first breastfeeding by mothers who intended to breastfeed. Infant skin temperature was taken at 1 and 5 minutes after birth and every 15 minutes thereafter. Blood glucose level was taken 60 minutes after birth, the time at which the infant latched onto the breast was recorded, and breastfeeding behaviors were observed during the first breastfeeding.
Results: Skin temperature rose during birth kangaroo care in eight of the nine infants, and temperature remained within neutral thermal zone for all infants. Blood glucose levels varied between 43 and 85 mg/dL for infants who had not already fed and between 43 and 118 mg/dL for those who had fed. All but one infant spontaneously crawled to and latched onto a breast by 74 minutes after birth. Physicians noted that mothers were distracted from episiotomy or laceration repair discomfort during birth kangaroo care.
Clinical implications: In this institution, birth kangaroo care was integrated into routine delivery room care, with nurses noting no change in nursing workload. Nurses have noted observing the crawling, latching, and successful breastfeeding of most infants. Because of the results of this pilot study, birth kangaroo care has been implemented successfully with all women who wish to participate.