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Keywords:

  • Cognitive development;
  • Family environment;
  • Father involvement;
  • Kangaroo mother care;
  • Prematurity

Abstract

Aims:  This study tested the hypothesis that Kangaroo Mother Care creates a climate in the family, which enhances infants’ performance on the developmental quotient scale.

Setting:  The largest social security hospital in Colombia with a neonatal intensive care unit.

Subjects:  At 12 months of corrected age, 194 families in the Kangaroo Mother Care group and 144 families in the Traditional Care group were available for analysis.

Interventions:  Infants were kept 24 h/day in an upright position, in skin-to-skin contact until it was no longer tolerated by the infants. Babies in the Traditional Care were kept in incubators on the Minimal Care Unit until they satisfied the usual discharge criteria.

Outcome measures:  The Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME), Father Involvement and Developmental Quotient (Griffiths) scores.

Results:  1) Kangaroo mothers created a more stimulating context and a better caregiving environment than mothers in the Traditional Care group; 2) this environment was positively correlated to father involvement and 3) the family environment of male infants was most improved by Kangaroo Mother Care.

Conclusion:  Kangaroo Mother Care has a positive impact on home environment. The results also suggest, first, that both parents should be involved as direct caregivers in the Kangaroo Mother Care procedure and secondly, that this intervention should be directed more specifically at infants who are more at risk at birth. The Kangaroo Mother Care intervention could be an excellent means to ensure parents’ mature involvement in the future of their children.