Purpose: To determine the effects of kangaroo care (KC) (skin-to-skin contact) on breastfeeding status in mother-preterm infant dyads from postpartum through 18 months.
Design: Randomized, controlled trial. The control group received standard nursery care; in the intervention group, unlimited KC was encouraged.
Sample: A subsample of 66 mothers and their preterm infants (32-36 completed weeks gestation, 1,300-3,000 g, 5 minute Apgar > or = 6) who intended to breastfeed.
Main outcome variables: Breastfeeding status at hospital discharge and at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 18 months as measured by the Index of Breastfeeding Status.
Results: KC dyads, compared to control dyads, breastfed significantly longer (5.08 months vs 2.05 months), p = .003. KC dyads also breastfed more exclusively at each measurement, p = .047. More KC dyads than control dyads breastfed at full exclusivity (100 percent breast milk, index of breastfeeding status levels 1 or 2) at discharge and at 1.5, 3, and 6 months. Mean KC contact per day was 4.47 hours.