Enhancing parent-infant bonding using kangaroo care: a structured review

Jane Mc Gregor, Jackie Casey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To review the literature on the effectiveness of kangaroo care with premature infants for enhancing bonding. Methods: Seven electronic databases were searched for research papers published between 2000 and 2011. The methodology, interventions, outcome measures, statistical analyses and the results of the studies were critically appraised using the McMaster critical review forms and the effectiveness of interventions in enhancing parent-infant bonding determined. Results: Six papers were identified that reported experimental studies conducting kangaroo care with premature infants and that met the inclusion criteria for this review. The majority of results indicated that kangaroo care for premature babies helped increase the maternal-infant bond. Effects on decreasing maternal stress and depressive emotions, decreasing infant distress and pain and enhancing the father-infant and entire family relationships were also reported. Conclusions: Kangaroo care positively enhances the parent-infant bonding; however results should be interpreted with some caution due to small sample size, uncertainty of duration, and the use of numerous outcome measures. Further research should concentrate on exploring the sustainability of kangaroo care gains into later childhood and the best practice time-frame for implementation of kangaroo care. Having an understanding of kangaroo care and its impact upon the bonding process is important for all healthcare professionals to help ensure best practice interventions for premature infants, to positively impact upon later developmental outcomes. © 2012 The Royal College of Midwives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jun 2012


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