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Keywords:

  • Kangaroo care;
  • Knowing;
  • Maternal-infant attachment;
  • Preterm birth;
  • Skin-to-skin care

Objective: To reveal mothers’ experiences of providing kangaroo care for their preterm newborns while still in the hospital.

Design: Transcendental phenomenology was used to analyze the experiences of mothers providing kangaroo care for their preterm newborns. Tape recorded, semistructured interviews were conducted 1 to 4 weeks postpartum. Mothers were asked one grand tour question, “What was it like for you to provide kangaroo care for your preterm infant while in the hospital?” This study was the qualitative component of a randomized clinical trial.

Participants: Ten women who provided kangaroo care for their preterm newborns, 32–36 completed weeks, weighing 1500–3000 grams, with APGAR scores 6 or greater at 1 minute, 7 or greater at 5 minutes.

Results: Four dominant themes emerged. The themes were reduced to one essential structure of knowing. The two essential elements of the structure of knowing were mothers kept from knowing their preterm newborn and mothers getting to know their preterm newborn.

Conclusions: Kangaroo care facilitates bonding and enhances maternal-infant acquaintance, even in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) environment. Mothers found that kangaroo care calmed them and their newborns.