Aim: This article is a report on a descriptive study of fathers’ experiences of providing their preterm infants with Kangaroo Mother Care.
Background: During neonatal intensive care, fathers describe the incubator as a barrier and the separation from their infant as stressful. Fathers consider it important to be close to the infant, and performing Kangaroo Mother Care makes them feel an important participant in their infants' care.
Method: Individual interviews conducted in 2009 with seven fathers who performed Kangaroo Mother Care were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: The fathers' opportunity for being close to their infants facilitated attainment of their paternal role in the neonatal intensive care unit. Kangaroo Mother Care allowed them to feel in control and that they were doing something good for their infant, although the infant's care could be demanding and stressful. As active agents in their infant's care, some fathers stayed with the infant during the whole hospital stay, others were at the neonatal intensive care unit all day long. Despite the un-wished-for situation, they adapted to their predicament and spent as much time as possible with their infants.
Conclusion: Fathers' opportunities for Kangaroo Mother Care helped them to attain their paternal role and to cope with the unexpected situation. The physical environment and conflicting staff statements influenced their opportunity for, and experience of, caring for their preterm infants.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.