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Keywords:

  • breastfeeding;
  • infant;
  • Kangaroo Mother Care;
  • neonatal care;
  • neonatal intensive care unit;
  • preterm;
  • skin-to-skin

ABSTRACT

Objective: To investigate the use of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) and its association with breastfeeding at 1 to 6 months of corrected age in mothers of very preterm (VPT) and preterm (PT) infants.

Design: Prospective longitudinal study.

Setting: Neonatal Intensive Care Units in four counties in Sweden.

Participants: The study included 103 VPT (<32 gestational weeks) and 197 PT (32-36 gestational weeks) singleton infants and their mothers.

Methods: Data on KMC, measured in duration of skin-to-skin contact/day during all days admitted to a neonatal unit, were collected using self-reports from the parents. Data on breastfeeding were obtained by telephone interviews.

Results: VPT dyads that breastfed at 1, 2, 5, and 6 months had spent more time in KMC per day than those not breastfeeding at these times. A trend toward significance was noted at 3 and 4 months. In the PT dyads no statistically significant differences were found in the amount of KMC per day between those dyads that breastfed and those that did not.

Conclusions: This study shows the importance of KMC during hospital stay for breastfeeding duration in VPT dyads. Hence, KMC has empowering effects on the process of breastfeeding, especially in those dyads with the smallest and most vulnerable infants.