Premature Options

If your baby is born prematurely (defined as before 37 weeks gestation), or low birthweight (defined as less than 5lb/2500g), or unwell, it is possible that they may need special care in a hospital neonatal unit.  Whilst in neonatal care the focus is to provide high quality individualised care for the infants and their families.

There is a growing body of evidence that kangaroo care can be very beneficial for both parents and baby, helping baby to stabilise and develop, and helping parents and carers feel closer to baby and more confident in caring for them.

Kangaroo care in hospital must be carried out in collaboration with medical staff, and whilst it is based on skin-to-skin contact, removing baby’s clothes is not essential if this might upset them or interfere with their medical treatment.  Put simply, you hold your baby on your chest under your clothes.

Once you are able to take baby home, there is plenty of evidence that continuing to carry your baby close meets their strong need for a sense of security and attachment, and supports parents and carers in building secure attachment to baby.

When looking at carrying options for premature, low birthweight or unwell babies, first and foremost we must consider safety.  The needs of every tiny infant for support are different, depending on how premature they were and what their complex medical needs are.

We must consider:

  • Medical and physiological needs of baby (including feeding, breathing and monitoring equipment)
  • Medical and psychological needs of parents and carers
  • Preferred position of baby and how to support that effectively and safely

For the very tiny infant, medical professionals will decide appropriateness and duration of kangaroo care.  There are a number of kangaroo care aids available; most hospitals have access to simple kangaroo care tubes, some have access to other aids.  As the infant progresses in hospital and at home, further carrying options become possible, however there is no one “best” option, indeed there may be no suitable option, all cases must be assessed individually by a trained and experienced carrying consultant, in conjunction with medical professionals if necessary.

There are options that are suitable for both seated kangaroo care, mobile supported kangaroo care and hands-free carrying, but their applicability depends on your unique situation.

Please contact for more information