• Kangaroo mother care;
  • Long-term followup;
  • Low birth weight infants;
  • Randomized controlled trial;
  • Resource-limited country


Aim:  To examine the long-term effects of earlier initiated continuous Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) for relatively stable low-birth-weight (LBW) infants in a resource-limited country.

Methods:  A randomized controlled trial with long-term follow-up was performed in LBW infants in Madagascar. Earlier continuous KMC (intervention group) was initiated as soon as possible within 24 h postbirth, and later continuous KMC (control group: conventional care) was initiated after complete stabilization. Outcome measures were mortality or readmission, nutritional indicators at 6–12 months postbirth and feeding condition at 6 months postbirth (, NCT00531492).

Results:  A total of 72 infants were followed for mortality or readmission at 6–12 months postbirth. There was no difference between the two groups (7/36 vs. 7/36, Risk ratio (RR), 1.00; 95% CIs, 0.39–2.56; p = 1.00). The proportion of exclusive breast feeding (EBF) at 6 months postbirth was significantly higher with earlier KMC than later KMC (12/29 vs. 4/26; RR 2.69; 95% CIs, 1.00–7.31; p = 0.04). There were no differences in nutritional indicators between the two groups at 6–12 months postbirth.

Conclusion:  Earlier initiated continuous KMC results in a significantly higher proportion of EBF at 6 months postbirth. Further larger-scale long-term evaluations of earlier initiated continuous KMC for LBW infants are needed.