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OBJECTIVE: To describe how mothers of late preterm infants experienced the provision of intermittent kangaroo mother care (KMC) in four postnatal wards in different hospitals in China, under a pilot KMC project. DESIGN: A concurrent mixed-methods approach incorporating quantitative maternal questionnaires and qualitative semistructured interviews. SETTING: Four postnatal wards in level-III hospitals based in different provinces of Southeast and Northwest China. PARTICIPANTS: All 752 mothers who provided intermittent KMC to their late preterm newborns in the four participating postnatal wards consented to participate in the study (quantitative component), as well as six nurses, two obstetricians and two mothers from two of the participating postnatal wards (qualitative component). OUTCOME MEASURES: Maternal KMC experiences during a hospital stay, patients' perceptions of KMC initiation, processes, benefits and challenges. RESULTS: Most mothers had not heard of KMC before being introduced to it in the postnatal ward. On average, mothers and newborns stayed in postnatal wards for 3.6 days; during their stay, mothers provided an average of 3.5 KMC sessions, which is an average of 1.1 sessions a day. Each KMC session lasted an average of 68 min, though there was much variation in the length of a session. Common reasons given for discontinuing a KMC session included restroom use, infant crying and perceived time limitations. Some mothers would have preferred to provide KMC for longer periods of time and nurses encouraged this. Most mothers experienced no difficulty providing KMC, received support from family and medical staff and intended to continue with KMC postdischarge. CONCLUSION: In order to improve the maternal experience of KMC, it is recommended that raising awareness of KMC should be included in antenatal care and after birth. Longer periods of KMC provision should be encouraged, greater privacy should be provided for mothers providing KMC in postnatal wards and family members should be encouraged to support KMC.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





neonatology, qualitative research, quality in healthcare, Aftercare, Child, China, Female, Hospitals, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Kangaroo-Mother Care Method, Mothers, Patient Discharge, Pregnancy