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The Key Benefits of Kangaroo Care

The Key Benefits of Kangaroo Care

Pregnancy and childbirth requires physical, emotional and mental strength, but the most rewarding part of it is seeing and holding your little one for the very first time. In some cases, the infant comes a little earlier than expected or what is known as preterm or premature birth. This happens when the baby is born before the full term or the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature infants need more care and attention because they are prone to infections and complications. This is where the kangaroo care method becomes beneficial.

kangaroo care

What is Kangaroo Care?

Kangaroo care is done by holding your child against your bare chest that allows skin-to-skin contact. Kangaroo care is typically done right after giving birth while you are still at the hospital. This method can be practiced by both mothers and fathers.

Although skin-to-skin contact is also encouraged for full-term babies and their parents, it benefits premature infants significantly. It helps stabilise low-weight infants and form a special bond between parents and their newborns.

In the late 1970s, the premature infant’s death rate was approximately 70% high because of diseases and infections, respiratory problems and lack of proper care and attention.

In response to this, Kangaroo Care was developed in Bogota, Columbia.

Research shows that when babies are held against their mother’s bodies for several hours each day, it will help them thrive and their bodies become stronger.

Skin-to-skin contact can also be very beneficial for full-term babies and their parents and is encouraged by most hospitals.

Premature Baby: Weight Gain Tips

What are the Benefits of Kangaroo care?

This is a good practice for premature infants and full-term babies as well. Its positive effects include:

  • Helps stabilize the heart rate of your baby.
  • Promotes a healthy sleep routine.
  • Helps with the baby’s breathing pattern and consistency.
  • Helps in improving oxygen saturation or how well the oxygen is distributed throughout the baby’s body.
  • It helps decrease crying and discomfort.
  • Helps the baby latch successfully during breastfeeding.
  • Helps the baby gain more weight.
  • Contributes to earlier hospital discharge.

This method can also have a positive effect on parents, too, such as:

  • Building up your confidence in your ability to take care of your new baby.
  • Helps in increasing your sense of control and capability.
  • Helps in increasing breast milk supply.
  • Establishing a close bond between you and your baby.
  • Helps you feel confident that your baby is getting the proper care he or she needs.

Things you shouldn’t do while practicing the Kangaroo Care method

This practice is extremely beneficial for your child. It requires focus and dedication for it to be effective and successful. Here are some of the things you should remember:

  • It’s important that you are feeling well and healthy. If you are experiencing an illness or disease that is preventing you from making contact with your child, it is best not to do this method until you are feeling better.
  • Make sure your skin is healthy and clean. Avoid using perfumes before sessions. Check skin for lesions, cold sores or rashes.
  • Do not use your cell phone or other gadgets while doing kangaroo care. It can be a distraction from your child and can also be a safety issue.
  • Do not smoke before skin-to-skin contact.
    Make sure you can spend at least 60 minutes of kangaroo care with your child without unnecessary breaks.
  • If the mother is unable to do the kangaroo care with the baby, the father can practice the method. There are instances where parents can’t do skin-to-skin contact with their baby. It may be because the infant is receiving other treatments or is being monitored inside an incubator.

Premature Baby: Complications Later in Life

How to do Kangaroo Care

After you give birth, you will be assisted by your nurse to help you start with this method. Here are some the things you should do to help you get started:

  • You should wear clothes that easily open in the front. You may remove your bra or under garments.
  • The baby should wear nothing but a diaper and a bonnet to protect his or her head.
    Place the baby against your bare chest in an upright position.
  • Once you’re settled, cover your baby’s back with a blanket. Make sure he is warm and comfortable while he or she snuggled against your chest.
  • Try to relax as you hold your baby. Keep your focus on your child during the session.
  • Allow your child to relax and fall asleep during the session. Avoid playing with him or her and make use of this time to rest and sleep together.
  • Plan your next kangaroo care sessions. An hour a day, four or more times a week will make a big impact on your child. Talk to your health care provider on how to schedule your sessions.

Key Takeaways

Taking care of a newborn baby is no easy task.

Whether the baby is full-term or premature, they are all fragile and need your full attention and care. You also have to take care of your physical and mental health.

Recovering properly and gradually from giving birth is not easy. But being healthy will help you take care of your new baby effectively.

Kangaroo care method promotes recovery for both infants and parents. Kangaroo care also makes us realize that no illness or health condition is more powerful than the bond between a parent and their baby.

Learn more about Baby Care, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Kangaroo Care: What it is, Benefits & How to do it – Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/12578-kangaroo-care March 22, 2021

Kangaroo care | Tommy’s, https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/premature-birth/how-long-do-you-stay-in-hospital-after-birth/kangaroo-care. March 23, 2021

Kangaroo mother care to reduce morbidity and mortality in low-birth-weight infants – WHO, https://www.who.int/elena/titles/kangaroo_care_infants/en/ March 23, 2021

Premature birth, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-birth/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376736, Accessed June 1, 2021

The Effects of Kangar ects of Kangaroo Care on the Neur e on the Neurodevelopment of elopment of Preterm Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), https://stars.library.ucf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1006&context=honorstheses Accessed June 1, 2021

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Written by Lhay Ann Boctoy Updated Jun 03
Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS