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.