• kangaroo care;
  • infant;
  • childbirth;
  • breastfeeding

Poster Presentation

  1. Top of page
  2. Poster Presentation

Purpose for the Program

In 2009, the Lakewood Hospital Birthing Center embarked on the journey to obtain Baby-Friendly, USA designation. It was identified that a key component for a successful journey was the implementation of Kangaroo care, or skin-to-skin care, in the immediate postpartum period. In the fall of 2009, the Birthing Center began training the nurses on Kangaroo care and implementation soon followed.

Proposed Change

Our goal was that all appropriate infants would be placed in Kangaroo care shortly after birth and would remain with their mother or the mother's support person for 60 to 90 minutes. The time in Kangaroo care with the mother would facilitate transition to extrauterine life and allow the infant to self-latch at the breast.

Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation

Nursing leadership worked with a nationally recognized expert on Kangaroo care to provide education to the nurses. A 4-hour program on Kangaroo care was developed and included discussion of the benefits, infant placement, and ongoing care of the infant, including assessment. Placing the infant in Kangaroo care was demonstrated to validate understanding. The electronic health record was modified to include documentation of time in and out of Kangaroo care and with whom the infant was in Kangaroo care. Patient education included handouts on Kangaroo care for distribution during prenatal appointments, prepared childbirth classes, and breastfeeding classes. Kangaroo care also is discussed during tours of the Birthing Center. Pediatric, midwifery, obstetric, and anesthesia providers were educated about Kangaroo care and the Birthing Center's change in the model of care immediately following birth. As barriers were identified, nursing leadership worked on the issues to minimize interruptions of Kangaroo care. The percentage of appropriate infants in Kangaroo care following birth is reviewed monthly. Between 90% and 98% of appropriate infants are placed in Kangaroo care. Infants also are placed in Kangaroo care shortly after a cesarean birth while the mother remains in the operating room. Anecdotally, lactation consultants report a decrease in the incidence of delayed latch and breastfeeding problems. Families have reported increased satisfaction with their birthing experiences.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Kangaroo care assists the infant with transition and facilitates initial breastfeeding, it is beneficial to the infant, mother, and family, and it is utilized throughout the hospital stay and families are encouraged to continue Kangaroo care at home, especially in conjunction with breastfeeding. The use of Kangaroo care is truly a nursing intervention. This nursing intervention quickly became a model of care for the Birthing Center.