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Thirty Years of Kangaroo Care Science and Practice

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IS IT 30 YEARS ALREADY SINCE I RECEIVED my first issue of Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing (NN)? How time does fly when you are having fun! NN was a newborn 30 years ago and now it is a fully mature, highly respected peer-reviewed professional journal indexed by every relevant database and available to every health professional. Every issue, then and now, has been happily anticipated and definitively rewarding, containing so many articles of interest about innovative and established practices in caring for newborns and their families. I salute the accomplishment of 30 years of this neonatal nursing publication. To celebrate NN's achievement, I was asked to reflect on how Kangaroo Care (KC) has evolved over the last 30 years and to enumerate evidence-based effects and practice changes. I have done so, and conclude with goals for the next 30 years of KC. Please understand that KC refers to maternal–infant, paternal–infant, and surrogate–infant (meaning a surrogate for the biologic parents and includes sibling, grandparent, adoptive parent, and so forth) skin-to-skin (chest-to-chest) care, not just maternal–infant contact. In addition, KC is defined as chest-to-chest, skin-to-skin contact because this ventral contact provides pleasing tactile stimulation of the C-afferent nerves,1,2 which produces release of oxytocin to modulate brain and systemic changes in both the infant and the KC provider.3,4 Most of the calming, physiologic improvements, growth, and recovery-enhancing effects of KC are caused by oxytocin influences in the brain.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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