Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for preterm infants

J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26.


Skin-to-skin ("kangaroo") care for preterm infants is becoming widespread in Western Europe. During this care the mother holds her diaper-clad premature infant against her skin beneath her clothing and allows self-regulatory access to breast-feeding. Fathers hold their infants skin-to-skin also. Research projects in Western Europe and the United States provide data that support the safety and effectiveness of this method. Infants held skin-to-skin are warm enough and have regular heart rate and respirations, more deep sleep and alert inactivity, less crying, no increase in infections, greater weight gain, and earlier discharge. Lactation is more productive and of greater duration. Parents become attached to their infants and feel confident about caring for them. This research is summarized and annotated in a table, along with descriptive reports and videotapes. These data can be used by health care professionals to make informed decisions about offering kangaroo care opportunities to selected parents and their preterm infants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Humans
  • Infant Care*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Mother-Child Relations*