In addition to exerting positive physiological and social effects on preterm infants, the Kangaroo Mother Care method also provides these infants with stimulation, which is similar to the multisensorial stimulation which the fetus receives in utero. Still, in high tech NICUs the application of KMC is typically restricted to limited periods of parentinfant skin-to-skin contact.
The aim of this article is to describe practical guidelines for KMC, 24 hours per day whenever possible, in a Swedish university NICU. The guidelines are based on the norm of parent-infant non-separation and infant care in the kangaroo position, continuously whenever possible, and were formulated based on observations and research of infants' and parents' responses during gradual implementation of components in the guidelines.
Ideally, KMC is initiated and continues uninterrupted from birth in infants born at ≥ 32 weeks, also after a caesarean section; this is also possible at a gestational age of 28-31 weeks. For infants born at ≤ 27 weeks, intermittent periods of KMC can be introduced during the first week of life, based on individual assessment. The guidelines describe initiation, infant's and parent's positions, transport, transfer to/from the kangaroo position, continuous KMC, performance of nursing and medical procedures during KMC, KMC and infant instability, support of the parental role, and early discharge.
Recommendation: KMC, continuous as far as possible, should be the norm for preterm infants also in high tech NICUs.