Kangaroo mother care (KMC), developed in Bogota, Columbia in the 1970s, was considered an innovative and daring practice at the time. Dr Nathalie Charpak and several colleagues introduced the world to a new way of caring for low birth weight infants: In comparison with the usual cautious practice of incubator nursing with severely restricted parental access and discharge only when a weight of 1700 g was attained, KMC involved “strapping the baby upright to the mother's chest in skin-to-skin contact, frequent [exclusive or nearly exclusive] breast feeding, formula supplements if weight gain did not exceed 20 g/day, and early discharge.”1 What now seems a usual intervention was at the time a revolution in newborn care. These scientist–clinicians courageously tested their new method in an observational cohort study2 and a randomized controlled trial,3 documenting equivalent survival among infants in the KMC and traditional care groups, thus demonstrating the...

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