Marshall Henry Klaus was a scientist and pediatrician who studied maternal-infant bonding in the twentieth century in the United States. Maternal-infant bonding is the psychological and chemical attachment between mother and infant. Klaus cofounded DONA International, an organization that trains birthing aides, called doulas, to provide physical and emotional support to laboring mothers. He also studied the differences between the layouts and quality of care provided in nurseries and birthing centers in different countries and compared them to those found in the United States. Klaus’s study influenced national and international initiatives to create hospital policies focused on promoting early bonding between mother and infant. Klaus catalyzed the advent of doulas and international policies that emphasized interaction between new mothers and their infants.
In 2016, physician researchers Agustin Conde-Agudelo and José Díaz-Rossello published “Kangaroo Mother Care to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality in Low Birthweight Infants,” in which they compared the effectiveness of Kangaroo Mother Care to that of traditional treatments for low birth weight newborns. Physicians began using Kangaroo Mother Care in the 1970s as a treatment for low birth weight infants. The treatment, which involves exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, was created to help mothers care for low birth weight infants in developing. In 2015, the World Health Organization estimated that globally, one million infants died due to complications of low birth weight, and a majority of those deaths occurred in developing countries. In their article, the authors demonstrated that Kangaroo Mother Care is just as effective as conventional medical care.
In the 2003 article “Kangaroo Care Is Effective in Diminishing Pain Response in Preterm Neonates”, Celeste Johnston, Bonnie Stevens, Janet Pinelli, and their colleagues evaluate the effectiveness of the Kangaroo Mother Care position in decreasing the pain response of preterm infants who undergo a heel lance procedure for blood collection. Kangaroo Mother Care is a method of treatment for premature and low birth weight infants that involves exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her infant in what is called the kangaroo position. After researchers supported the use of Kangaroo Mother Care for basic care, they began to search for other uses of Kangaroo Care in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. In their article, the authors demonstrate that the skin-to-skin contact involved in the Kangaroo Mother Care decreased the amount of pain premature infants experienced during a heel lance, a frequently used NICU procedure.
Physician researchers Edgar Rey Sanabria and Héctor Martínez-Gómez developed the Kangaroo Mother Program in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1979, as an alternative to conventional incubator treatment for low birth weight infants. As of 2018, low birth weight and its associated complications are the leading causes of infant death, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries where access to technology and skilled healthcare providers is limited. Kangaroo Mother Care is a simple and low cost method for treating low birth weight infants. Even though researchers developed Kangaroo Mother Care for infants born in hospitals with limited resources, they demonstrated that the method could be just as effective as conventional treatments. Kangaroo Mother Care changed the standard of care for low birth weight infants, making life-saving medical treatments accessible to thousands of infants in developing and undeveloped countries.
In the 1994 article “The ‘Kangaroo-Method’ for Treating Low Birth Weight Babies in a Developing Country,” authors Nils Bergman and Agneta Jürisoo evaluate the effectiveness of the Kangaroo Care method in treating low birth weight infants at Manama Mission Hospital in Gwanda, Zimbabwe. Low birth weight infants face many medical complications. In developing countries, where the prevalence of low birth weight infants is highest, there is limited access to the technology or skilled personnel required to keep those infants alive. The Kangaroo Care method includes exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact on the mother's chest to treat low birth weight infants. In “The ‘Kangaroo-Method’ for Treating Low Birth Weight Babies in a Developing Country,” the authors demonstrate that the method is just as effective as conventional technological methods in treating low birth weight infants.