Role of kangaroo mother care in growth and breast feeding rates in very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates: a systematic review

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Jan;32(1):129-142. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2017.1304535. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


Objective: To evaluate the role of kangaroo mother care (KMC) on growth and breast feeding rates in very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates.

Materials and methods: A literature search was done to identify eligible studies using various electronic database searches including PubMed and EMBASE, various Web of Science including Scopus, Index Copernicus, African Index Medicus (AIM), Thomson Reuters (ESCI), Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), SCIWIN (Scientific World Index), Google Scholar, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Information System (LILACS), Index Medicus for the Eastern Mediterranean Region (IMEMR), Index Medicus for the South-East Asian Region (IMSEAR), and Western Pacific Region Index Medicus (WPRIM) and various clinical trial registries.

Results: Thirteen studies that evaluated the role of KMC in VLBW infants in improvement of growth outcome (weight/length/head circumference) or breast feeding rates as their primary or secondary outcome, were included in this systematic review. Seven studies evaluated both growth and breast feeding rates, four studies evaluated breast feeding rates and two studies evaluated growth outcome. All included studies except one either showed positive effect or no effect on growth and breast feeding rates.

Conclusions: KMC has a positive effect on growth of the VLBW infants and also leads to increase in the breast-feeding rates. KMC should be an integral part of neonatal care and should be promoted as an essential newborn care component.

Keywords: Breast feeding; growth; head circumference; kangaroo mother care; length; very low birth weight; weight.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / growth & development*
  • Kangaroo-Mother Care Method*