Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is a nonconventional low-cost method of newborn care. Our aim was to assess the effect of sustained KMC on the growth and development of low birthweight Indian babies up to the age of 12 months.Methods:
We enrolled 500 mother and baby pairs, in groups of five, in a parallel group controlled clinical trial. The three infants with the lowest birthweight in each group received KMC, while the other two received conventional care. All babies were exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Babies in the intervention group were provided KMC until the infant was 40 weeks of corrected gestation or weighed 2500 g. Weight, length and head, chest and arm circumferences were evaluated at birth and at the corrected ages of 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. Development was assessed using the Developmental Assessment Scales for Indian Infants (DASII) at 12 months.Results:
The KMC babies rapidly achieved physical growth parameters similar to the control babies at 40 weeks of corrected age. But after that, they surpassed them, despite being smaller at birth. DASII motor and mental development quotients were also significantly better for KMC babies.Conclusion:
The infants in the KMC group showed better physical growth and development than the conventional control group.