Kangaroo Care Touted as Way to Increase Breastfeeding Rates, Improve Infant Nutrition
FRANKFORT, KY (Nov. 30, 2011) – The Kentucky Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program and the University of Louisville (UofL) Hospital Center for Women and Infants are working with Kentucky hospitals to initiate or improve “Kangaroo Care” practices, which seek to improve breastfeeding rates in newborn infants by promoting skin-to-skin contact with the mother in the hours immediately after birth and throughout the hospital stay.
The program was initially launched by staff at UofL Hospital in 2007 and resulted in a significant increase in breastfeeding rates among women who gave birth there. As a part of the program, UofL staff developed a “Jumping into Kangaroo Care Toolkit” for use at other facilities and has been active in ongoing public health trainings with other hospital staffs from around the state.
“When we learned about the Kangaroo Care project at the University of Louisville, we knew it was something we wanted to get involved with,” said Fran Hawkins, Kentucky’s WIC Director. “Increasing breastfeeding rates across the state is key to improving the overall health and well-being of Kentucky and we want to see the success of UofL replicated at all of our state’s birthing hospitals. I strongly encourage our medical community to learn more about and participate in this unique program.”
The project provides free training in skin-to-skin care developed by staff at UofL, who are on site during the trainings and work individually with participants during training sessions. Kangaroo Care trainings have been going on through the fall and will run until the end of November.
Among other breastfeeding topics, the trainings include instruction on how to use the Kangaroo Care toolkit and breastfeeding data collection. Kangaroo Care Champions, nurses who’ve participated in the program at UofL, help run the trainings and work individually with hospital staff.
“Our Kangaroo Care program will also assist hospitals in collecting information on the rate of exclusive breastfeeding as required by the Joint Commission’s Perinatal Core Measure Set,” said WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Marlene Goodlett. “In addition, as birth skin-to-skin care is moving to become the evidence-based standard in patient care, this project will help hospitals strengthen their services to maintain high levels of patient satisfaction and breastfeeding initiation. It’s a win-win for mothers and babies – and our state birthing hospitals.”
All Kentucky birthing hospitals are being contacted and encouraged to participate. All hospitals are encouraged to check with the director of nursing or maternity services to see if their hospital has been contacted, and encourage them to participate in this project.
For more information on the UofL Hospital’s Kangaroo Care program, visit their webpage, which also includes a video for parents on the importance and practice of skin-to-skin care, http://www.uoflhealthcare.org/Default.aspx?TabId=597. Questions about the ongoing Kangaroo Care trainings or other DPH breastfeeding initiatives can be directed to Marlene Goodlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beth Fisher or Gwenda Bond (502) 564-6786, ext. 3101 and 3100