Kangaroo care aims to promote and maintain skin to skin contact between the chest of the mother and that of the baby. This method of care satisfies all the developmental requirements for preterm infants. It has sustained effects for up to 16 years after birth (27).
This skin to skin contact:
- creates a calm and soothing environment for the baby and their family
- creates the optimal position for supporting the baby’s body systems
- allows close monitoring of baby
- allows rest periods for both mother and baby
- helps baby regulate his systems, such as breathing heart rate temperature and blood glucose levels
- enables monitoring of baby’s stress levels
- improving your bonding with baby
- helps to increase your breast milk supply
- increases your confidence in caring for baby
- reassures you that baby is well cared for
- increases your sense of control.
During Kangaroo care, your baby is placed on your bared chest. Your baby will also be naked apart from a nappy and hat. This contact can last for hours, depending on the health of both you and your baby. Anything used for warmth – such as a wrap or blanket can be wrapped around you and over your baby.Kangaroo care is a vital component of your baby’s health. It should be promoted by staff in the special care nursery when they are able. The benefits of this skin to skin are evident in very preterm infants. When this care begins will depend on your baby’s individual needs.
This style of care is not restricted to mothers alone. Baby will benefit from this time with other parents, siblings and relatives. To read more about the benefits of kangaroo care, please click here.
Dr Janelle McAlpine (PhD), Clinical Midwife
Photo by Kati Finell, used under license from Shutterstock.com