Background: Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) supports parents' role at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). To enhance parents' provision of KMC, it is essential to obtain knowledge of what parents perceive as supportive factors and barriers regarding their opportunities to perform KMC.
Aim: To identify factors that parents of preterm infants perceived as supportive factors or barriers for their performance of KMC and to explore the timing of and reasons for parents' discontinuation of KMC.
Methods: A descriptive study performed at two NICUs in Sweden with 76 mothers and 74 fathers of preterm infants born at gestational ages ranging from 28 to 33 weeks. Data on infant characteristics were obtained from the infants' medical records. A questionnaire, based on scientific literature and the researchers' clinical experience, was completed by the mothers and the fathers separately, shortly after the infant's discharge from the hospital. The data were analyzed with qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistic.
Results: Four categories were identified in parents' responses regarding support and barriers for their performance of KMC: Parent related factors, Time, Infants related factors and The NICU and home environment. The hospital staff and environment were described by the parents as both supportive and barriers for their application of KMC. Some mothers described the infants' feeding process as an obstacle to KMC. Sleeping with the infant skin-to-skin in the same position throughout the night could be difficult, as an uncomfortable sleeping position caused insufficient sleep. A majority of both mothers and fathers continued providing their infant with KMC to some extent after discharge.
Conclusion: Interventions for enhancing parents' opportunities for performing KMC should address both hospital staff attitudes and practices and the NICU environment.
© 2012 Nordic College of Caring Science.