Kangaroo Mother Intervention (KMI) started in 1978 in Colombia as a way of dealing with overcrowding and scarcity of resources in hospitals caring for low birth weight infants. Currently the intervention comprises three components: kangaroo position (skin-to-skin contact), kangaroo nutrition (exclusive or nearly exclusive breast-feeding), and kangaroo discharge policies (early discharge in kangaroo position regardless of weight or gestational age). Different authors have adopted and adapted diverse components of the KMI to suit the particular needs of their parents. We discuss different modalities of kangaroo care reported in developed and in developing countries and also describe in some detail the components of the whole KMI program. In addition, results from a systematic review of kangaroo- related papers published in English between 1991 and 1995 are provided, together with a summary of current knowledge (evidence-based) and research needs.