Aims: To characterise the first infants receiving continuous Kangaroo Mother Care from birth to discharge in a Swedish neonatal intensive care unit and to investigate their mothers' experiences of this model of care.
Background: Admission of a newborn infant to a neonatal intensive care unit commonly implies separation of the new mother from her infant. Kangaroo Mother Care is a model of neonatal care which supports the parental role as primary care-giver and contributes to minimising the separation between the infant and parents.
Design: A retrospective survey design.
Method: A purposive sample consisting of 23 mother-infant pairs. Relevant infant data were obtained from their medical records. A questionnaire with questions about the infant's care and regarding Kangaroo Mother Care was designed for this study.
Results: The infants were born at a gestational age of 31-41 weeks, birth weight ranging from 1715-3700 g. The mothers of these moderately preterm and ill newborn infants showed good acceptance of the idea of providing their infants with continuous Kangaroo Mother Care during their stay at the neonatal intensive care unit. The mothers' evaluations of this method were predominantly positive. Negative comments concerned lack of information about practical application of the method, and some mothers perceived their infants' care during the night as exhausting. No mother would have preferred not to perform continuous Kangaroo Mother Care or to terminate Kangaroo Mother Care earlier than they did.
Conclusions: These mothers accepted this model of care very well, provided that they received the help and support they required.
Relevance to clinical practice: Mothers whose infants are admitted to an neonatal intensive care units in settings similar to the study setting should be offered opportunities to be present and provide Kangaroo Mother Care for their infants, to the extent that they are able and willing to do so and as permitted by the infant's medical condition and care.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.