Jill Bergman Kangaroula

This photo shows exactly why I love to do what I do:

The magic of the open eyes connecting with Mum, the first bonding. The baby is calm and peaceful, wide-awake and brain wiring for emotional security. As Kangaroula I am shielding his eyes from bright lights, keeping him in skin to skin contact on Mum’s chest, supporting his head, facilitating the connection to mum, trying to keep this special time uninterrupted for early breastfeeding, and asking nurses to keep noise levels low. I am also watching a quiet miracle of a lovely lady become a mother, and a special couple becoming a family. What an awe-filled and incredible privilege to share this wonderful time with parents!


Jill started working as a doula around the year 2000. She was however motivated primarily by feeling the need to translate the findings from the science and research that Nils was doing. This did concern the role of the doula supporting the mother, but much more the missing component of support for the newborn baby. This applies as much to the healthy full term baby, as to the small and sick preterm baby. Her first experience with such small babies was in 1988, went she helped design and then sewed the KangaCarrier, the garment that allows for safe technique in keeping the baby in continuous skin-to-skin contact.

She supported around 150 newborn babies and their families in the first ten years, most were healthy full term babies. However she also supported parents with small babies, as well as some facing fetal loss and bereavement. She enrolled as a NIDCAP trainee, and worked with low birth weight and preterm babies at Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. Synthesizing this training and the local context with the research findings and practical experience of Dr Nils Bergman, she went on to produce four films, and write the book “Hold Your Prem” (Hold Your Premie – in a subsequent USA edition). She was then the sole trainer of all the KMC supporters in the Immediate KMC Study (iKMC). The whole “iKMC intervention” (immediate skin-to-skin contact, early expression of colostrum and support for exclusive breastfeeding, ongoing and continuous skin-to skin contact with coordination between family members also admitted to the NICU) all was done by young ladies with no prior experience trained by Jill. The control group (and the skin-to-skin group)  got state of art care with equipment provided by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and ongoing training and supervision by Scandinavian neonatologists. Even so, the iKMC intervention decreased mortality by 25%.

Jill wrote her first published article in 2011!

Some testimonials !