Kangaroo Care and You

I’ve blogged before about having a preemie in the NICU. When my daughter Lucy was born, she spent a good amount of time hooked up to so many tubes and wires I was afraid to touch her. She seemed so fragile attached to all those machines in her little isolette. It was scar- and my husband and I felt so helpless.

However, we were lucky enough to be in a NICU that not only allowed kangaroo care but encouraged it! As soon as my tiny little girl was laid ski-to skin-her temperature started regulating itself, and more importantly I felt the bond with my child I felt was missing because I had to give up on our first few days together.

For those of you who don’t know, Kangaroo care is skin-to-skin contact between newborn babies and parents. The baby will usually go between mom’s breasts or on dad’s bare chest with some sort of covering over baby.

By holding your baby skin to skin you can not only build emotional confidence by spending time close to baby you can greatly improve many issues that NICU babies and moms face.

In an article for Midwifery Today, Holly Richardson noted all the benefits of Kangaroo care:

“The benefits of kangaroo care are numerous: The baby has a stable heart rate (no bradycardia), more regular breathing (a 75 percent decrease in apneic episodes), improved oxygen saturation levels, no cold stress, longer periods of sleep, more rapid weight gain, more rapid brain development, reduction of “purposeless” activity, decreased crying, longer periods of alertness, more successful breastfeeding episodes, and earlier hospital discharge. Benefits to the parents include “closure” over having a baby in NICU; feeling close to their babies (earlier bonding); having confidence that they can care for their baby, even better than hospital staff; gaining confidence that their baby is well cared for; and feeling in control—not to mention significantly decreased cost!”

You can do skin to skin with your baby anytime! Simple remove all their clothes and just hold them. It might be extra helpful to do when they are sick, colicky, upset, or just overtired or over stimulated. There is never a bad time for kangaroo care.

For more information on Kangaroo Care, you can visit the March of Dimes.

Allison Klaine is a mom to Lucy, 4 and Jack, 3.  She’s been through NICU stays, bed rest, terrible twos, and many many sleepless nights. She hopes her time on the parenting frontline can help other moms out if they need it.  

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