Father's experiences of Kangaroo Care in a Neonatal Care Intensive Care Unit: A scoping review: Fathers and Newborns

Qiuxia Dong*, Mary Steen, Dianne Wepa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Kangaroo care (KC) has been used widely in neonatal care to promote bonding/attachment and neurodevelopment for preterm and term infants. However, current literature suggests that research mainly focuses on infants’ and mothers’ experiences. The role of fathers in caring for their infant/child is changing and evolving in many countries around the globe yet little is known about fathers’ experiences of KC in neonatal units. This review, therefore, aims to scope the current evidence of father–infant KC (FKC) in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Research question: What impact does KC have on fathers when their baby is cared for in a NICU? Search method: A scoping review was conducted, guided by the Arksey & O’Malley (2005) framework. The data sources consisted of MEDLINE, Embase, the American Psychological Association (APA) PsycInfo, Emcare, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), Web of Science, Google Scholar, and ProQuest.The study inclusion criteria were: 1. studies involving fathers who had experience of KC with their baby while in NICUs and other neonatal care settings (such as Special Care Baby Nursery (SCBU), delivery/labour room, and postnatal ward); 2. literature published from 2000 to 2020; 3. primary studies including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods studies; 4. studies published in English.Results: The total number of studies identified was 13. Seven studies were qualitative and six were quantitative. None were mixed-methods studies. Studies reported several positive KC benefits for fathers such as reduced stress, promotion of paternal role and enhanced father–infant bond. It was highlighted that KC could be time-consuming for fathers and challenging to practise when balancing work and family life commitments. Conclusion: This review provides evidence that KC practice has health and wellbeing benefits for fathers and infants in NICUs and other relevant neonatal care settings. The findings of this review support the justification to promote FKC in NICU environments and guide policies to include father involvement. Implementing FKC in NICU settings will assist fathers to care and connect with their baby. Further research is needed to explore how to facilitate and evaluate KC education for fathers from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages34
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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