Human Milk and Kangaroo Mother Care
Carmen R. Pallas-Alonso,
Significant benefits on infant host defense, sensory-neural development, gastrointestinal maturation, and some aspects of nutritional status are observed when preterm infants are fed with their mothers' own milk. A reduction in infection-related morbidity in human milk-fed preterm infants has been reported. Studies on neuro-developmental outcomes have reported significantly positive effects for human milk intake on mental and motor development. Human milk-fed infants also have decreased rates of rehospitalization following discharge. Hospital-based practices may contribute to increased rates of breast milk feeding for preterm infants for longer periods of time. There is quite a lot of information available on using KMC to promote maternal breastfeeding with the aim of increasing its frequency and duration in preterm infants. The positive effects of Kangaroo skin-to-skin contact on breastfeeding can be stated with some confidence. The provision of personal breastfeeding education and support by a skilled nurse as an integral part of the interventions is likely to increase the success of the intervention both in terms of breastfeeding outcomes and the acceptability of KMC. We should not therefore pass up the opportunity to introduce a low cost intervention such as KMC with consistently beneficial effects demonstrated.
Keywords: Kangaroo Mother Care, breastfeeding, very low birth weight, human milk, preterm infants, skin-to-skin contact, gastrointestinal maturation, necrotizing enterocolitis, infant host defense
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