The benefits of KMC
Babies who died
Successful breastfeeding upon discharge
Continuation in breastfeeding for at least 1 month
Babies with severe infection
Babies who became too cold
How is KMC effective
You probably are aware that many preterm babies die before they leave the hospital. This is because they are born before they are mature enough to breath normally and feed normally. They are prone to lose body heat and can easily contract a severe life-threatening infection. Research has shown that KMC reduces the number of preterm babies who die. (Click on arrow for more info).
Out of 1000 preterm babies, 60 babies may die compared to only 40 if KMC is done. Preterm babies usually spend a long time in hospital before they are strong enough to go home but has been shown to reduce the length of stay of a baby by 2.3 days. They get home to their families earlier and a higher proportion of them are successfully being breastfed when they leave the hospital.
Successful breastfeeding measured either at discharge or at 40 to 41 weeks postmenstrual age was seen in 914 per 1000 mothers who did KMC compared to 762 per 1000 mothers who did not. When followed up at 1 to 3 months later, 832 per 1000 mothers who had done KMC were still breastfeeding compared to 711 per 1000 who did not.
Less babies (65 per 1000) suffered from severe infections with KMC compared to those without (131 per 1000). Breastfeeding helps them grow faster and at the same time protects baby from infection and other serious problems that preterm babies get. Because they are more prone to infection, we always dread that while they are in hospital, they may pick up an infection. It has been shown that KMC reduces the risk of this. In 1000 babies, 65 babies who experienced KMC versus 131 babies who did not have such experience suffered severe infection during their hospitalisation.
Preterm babies always have difficulty keeping warm and KMC reduces the number of babies who get dangerously low body temperatures (hypothermia). Again, only 76 out of 1000 babies undergoing KMC suffered from hypothermia compared to 271 per 1000 babies who did not.
KMC can create an environment where your baby can rest effectively and obtain nutrition easily. Being skin to skin with someone, an adult , replicates the feeling of still being in a mummy’s womb. Your baby’s right brain which controls and stores emotional memory will be more stimulated than the left side. This side of the brain is recognized as a centre for feeling calm, contented, happy, relaxed, empathetic and compassionate. Therefore, your baby will be calmer, relaxed and more content. This helps your baby control his/her breathing, heart beat and temperature better.
The evidence for this is strongest for all low-birth-weight babies (that means both preterm and term babies who are born small) and is best to be done for at least 6 hours a day with each session not less than 1 hour. There is a possibility that a baby's ability to think, learn new movements and develop emotional skills are faster with KMC but we do not have enough data yet to be certain.