Main menu


Benefits of the kangaroo method

Premature babies: the kangaroo method proves its benefits

Scientific evidence shows that skin-to-skin contact reduces infant mortality and encourages breastfeeding after birth.

The kangaroo chamber method first appeared in 1978 at a maternity hospital in Bogotá (Colombia) at the initiative of two pediatricians who did not have enough incubators. This technique, inspired by the behavior of Australian marsupials, is now proposed as an alternative to conventional care for low-weight babies (less than 2.5 kg), even in well-equipped maternity hospitals. From Nantes to Poissy to Le Mans, many French maternity hospitals have introduced kangaroo units into their operations. This means that the baby is almost always carried on the belly, in skin-to-skin contact, until he or she is old enough.

Benefits of the kangaroo method

To determine the benefits of this method over traditional care, the independent Cochrane Research Network reviewed 21 studies involving a total of 3042 infants. The results, published in August 2016, are clear: fewer deaths in the first few months, fewer hospital-acquired infections, less respiratory illness, and less hypothermia.

Babies helped by kangarooing grew in length gained weight and increased head circumference more than other preterm infants during the follow-up period and had better breastfeeding compliance. Our results apply only to low-birth-weight infants in low- and middle-income countries," - the authors write. However, the positive effect of the kangaroo method on breastfeeding for one to two months after birth was also observed in preterm infants in wealthier countries."

A study recently published in the journal Pediatrics found that the kangaroo method may have positive effects in adulthood. In 1993, researchers randomly divided 700 Colombian premature babies into two groups (a kangaroo group and a control group that received conventional care). They then followed them for 20 years. "The older kangaroos, especially those from poorer families, were less aggressive. They were less impulsive and hyperactive," the study authors said. The researchers also noted that boys in the kangaroo group had greater total gray matter volume than boys in the control group. "However, we could not account for environmental factors that may have affected brain development," - the authors note.


table of contents title