Hold Your Prem: a workbook on skin-to-skin contact for
parents of premature babies.
Reviewed by Averil Sheehan and Isobel Fanshawe
Jill Bergman with Dr Nils Bergman.
This is a practical workbook, written by Jill Bergman, along with Dr Nils Bergman,
famous of course for his advocacy of kangaroo care for premature babies. It is intended to
be used by parents who are suddenly confronted with a prem baby, to give them practical
information and the tools to empower them, but it is also intended to be used as a tool for
healthcare providers to support these parents.
In this book, Jill Bergman outlines the benefits of skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding for
all babies but especially for vulnerable premature babies who need this care for optimum
weight gain and brain growth and for stabilising their heart rate, temperature and
breathing outside the womb.
As this is a book primarily for parents of premature babies who may have had no time to
prepare for this situation, each chapter is organised to start with easily accessed key
points printed on a blue page. These pages are followed by supporting information;
questions and spaces for recording details to track the progress of the reader’s baby and
finally the small print pages containing comments and references which could be shared
with the medical personnel caring for the baby. Chapters include tips on coping with
emotions, with the technology of the NICU and with wrapping your baby securely for
kangaroo care. There are many helpful photos and diagrams illustrating the text.
This book would be very helpful for mothers of premature babies and it is hoped that it
would be readily available in every NICU unit. As many mothers of premature babies do
not get to La Leche League meetings until after the baby is through the prematurity stage,
and because it is a workbook to be used by individual parents, it is probably not a book
necessary for Group Libraries. However, the reviewers recommend that every Area
purchase a copy for the ACPL to have as a resource for the Area. It would also be a book
for Leaders to recommend to parents of premature babies.