Kangaroo Care is a method of caring for a premature baby in which the infant is held in skin-to-skin contact with a parent.
Wearing just their nappy, baby is placed against a parent's bare chest with either a cuddle wrap or their parents clothing to keep them warm.
This snuggling of the infant inside the pouch of their parent's shirt, much like a kangaroo's pouch, led to the creation of the term "kangaroo care."
What are the benefits of kangaroo care?
• Improved (more regular) breathing pattern and stabilization of their heart rate • Improved oxygen saturation levels (an indicator of how well oxygen is being delivered to all the infants organs and tissues) • More rapid weight gain • More successful breastfeeding episodes • Earlier hospital discharge
Benefits of Kangaroo Care for parents:
• Improved bonding, feelings of closeness with their babies • Increased breast milk supply • Increased confidence in ability to care for their babies
During kangaroo care, the infant typically snuggles into the breast and falls asleep within a few minutes. Extra sleep that the infant gets by snuggling with mum specifically and the assistance in regulating body temperature helps the baby conserve energy and redirects calorie expenditures toward growth and weight gain. Being positioned on mum also helps to stabilize the infant's respiratory and heart rates. Research has also shown that kangaroo care results in positive effects on brain development.
Kangaroo care is often possible even for a baby who is attached to tubes and wires, but you will need to stay near the machines and try not to move around too much.
Kangaroo care is not suitable for babies who are still very premature, or whose health is unstable. For others it may only be advisable for short periods of time or once every few days. Neonatal staff will discuss kangaroo care with you and advise on suitable care for your baby