Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is a method of care for all newborn babies, both premature and full-term. This method uses the mother's skin and presence to stabilize the baby. It also promotes breastfeeding, which itself can be lifesaving for premature babies. KMC has three components:
- Skin-to-skin contact between the baby's front and the mother's chest: Skin-to-skin contact should ideally start at birth, but is helpful at any time. It should ideally be continuous day and night, but shorter periods are still helpful.
- Exclusive breastfeeding: for an average mother, direct suckling by the baby from the breasts is all that is needed. For very premature babies, milk and additional essential nutrients may be needed.
- Support of the dyad: whatever is needed for the medical, emotional, psychological and physical well-being of mother and baby is provided to them without separating them. This might mean adding ultramodern equipment, if available, or purely intense psychological support in low-resource settings.