A Comprehensive Evidence-Based Review of Skin-to-Skin (Kangaroo) Care with Full-term Infants

(Excerpts from Susan Ludington-Hoe Comprehensive Review)


Susan M. Ludington-Hoe, R.N., CNM, Ph.D., FAAN
Barbara Morrison, R.N., CNM, FNP, Ph.D.
Gene Cranston Anderson, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN


Keep the infant in KC at least until the first suckling at the breast has been accomplished
(Sinusas  & Gagliardi, 2001; Warren, 2008).

  • Kangaroo Care increases oxytocin release in both mother and infant. Oxytocin, in turn, facilitates breastfeeding, bonding, maternal relaxation, uterine contractions, and minimization of stress

(Dordevic et al., 2008; Uvnas-Moberg, 2003; Uvnas-Moberg et al., 2005).

  • Suckling maintains development of the anterior pituitary’s prolactin-secreting cells even when estrogen drops at cell integrity.  Suckling also induces prolactin surges in maternal blood, supporting normal lactation (Uvnas-Moberg, 1999; Uvnas-Moberg, 2003).

  • The colostrum delivered with the initial sucks is rich in T and B lymphocyctes, enhancing infant immunity.

  • Also, sending the infant to the observation nursery at any time during postpartum is detrimental because once the infant is in the nursery, treatments, physical assessments, and screenings get clustered together and result in prolonged separation from the mother (Vazquez & Berg, 2012).

  • Conducting these procedures at the mother’s bedside is the best practice.

  • Have the mother provide continuous KC until discharge. Mother and infant should remain in KC as much as possible throughout the postpartum stay for improved interactions, development, and breastfeeding (Kent et al., 2012; Vasquez & Berg, 2012).

  • Continue KC as much as possible throughout the first three months of life

(Chalmers, O’Brien, & Boscoe, 2009)

  • Use KC as a FIRST intervention for breastfeeding problems (Vazquez & Berg, 2012).

  • Remember, Kangaroo Care is the newborn’s playground (Winberg, 2005). birth – a condition that threatens prolactin

 Kangaroo Care’s continual use throughout the mother’s day can be accomplished using a tube top, slings, or wraps to position the infant near the breast while maintaining maternal modesty as the mother conducts routine postpartum activities.