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J Perinatol. 2009 Jan;29(1):51-6. doi: 10.1038/jp.2008.113. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Enhanced kangaroo mother care for heel lance in preterm neonates: a crossover trial.

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  • 1School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.



To test if enhancing maternal skin-to-skin contact, or kangaroo mother care (KMC) by adding rocking, singing and sucking is more efficacious than simple KMC for procedural pain in preterm neonates.


Preterm neonates (n=90) between 32 0/7 and 36 0/7 weeks' gestational age participated in a single-blind randomized crossover design. The infant was held in KMC with the addition of rocking, singing and sucking or the infant was held in KMC without additional stimulation. The Premature Infant Pain Profile was the primary outcome with time to recover as the secondary outcome. A repeated-measures analysis of covariance was employed for analyses.


There were no significant differences in any of the 30 s time periods over the 2 min of blood sampling nor in time to return to baseline. Compared to historical controls of the same age in incubator, the pain scores were lower and comparable to other studies of KMC. There were site differences related to lower scores with the use of sucrose in one site and higher scores in younger, sicker infants in another site.


The sensorial stimulations from skin-to-skin contact that include tactile, olfactory sensations from the mother are sufficient to decrease pain response in premature neonates. Other studies showing that rocking, sucking and music were efficacious were independent of skin-to-skin contact, which, when used alone has been shown to be effective as reported across studies.

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