Purpose: This study investigated the effect of kangaroo care (KC) on breastfeeding rate and development in preterm neonates in the first six months of life.
Design: The study was conducted using a quasi-experimental method with a pretest-posttest control group design. The sample consisted of preterm neonates in the NICU of two state hospitals of Turkey. The experimental group (n =30) was provided with KC by their mothers for 30 min once a day during a postnatal month. The control group (n = 30) received routine care. Feeding patterns and physical development parameters were determined during the transition to exclusive breastfeeding and at discharge, and in the first, third, and sixth postnatal months. Data were collected using a descriptive characteristics questionnaire, a nutrition and physical development follow-up form, and a home KC follow-up form. Percentage distribution, mean, chi-square test, and t-test were used for analysis.
Results: The KC group had a significantly higher mean body weight than the control group in the third and sixth postnatal months (p < .05). The KC group had higher breast milk intake and breastfeeding rates than the control group during the transition to exclusive breastfeeding and at discharge, and in the first, third, and sixth postnatal months (p < .05).
Conclusion: The KC neonates were breastfed for a more extended period of time than controls. This result suggests that KC improves breast milk intake and breastfeeding rates. Therefore, mothers should be trained in KC in the postnatal period.
Practice implications: Healthcare professionals should encourage and follow mothers for kangaroo care.
Keywords: Breast milk; Breastfeeding; Kangaroo care; Nursing; Preterm neonate.
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