Kangaroo care is a kind of a care or development method which is beneficial for new born babies and especially those who have been or still are in neonatal intensive care unit. Kangaroo care is also known by the terms ‘skin to skin contact’ or ‘kangaroo mother care’ since in this method, the mother holds the baby directly in contact to her skin or bare chest.
In some cases, dads too may perform this method. The mom or dad may then rock front and back, comfort the baby and cuddle him/her. This technique helps the baby and parents quietly bond with one another. The following is some more information about kangaroo care:
Benefits of Kangaroo Care for Babies
- The main benefit of kangaroo care is to enable the new born baby to feel safe, comforted and secure in the warmth of the parent. According to research, those parents who provided kangaroo care to their babies were able to bond better with them.
- Kangaroo care has proved to have many positive effects on the babies. Not only do they show better brain and emotional development but also seem to be calmer after receiving the care.
- Kangaroo care also helps to make babies more willing to breastfeed and makes way for better sleeping patterns too.
- This care method also helps in regulating the temperature, breathing and heartbeat of the new born baby.
- Another major benefit of this care method is that babies who receive it show better or improved head circumference growth and also better weight gain as compared to others.
- Kangaroo care has also shown to stabilize and improve the self-regulation abilities and organ function in babies who receive it. It helps to avoid infections and makes babies cry less.
- Kangaroo care offers many long term benefits as well and babies who receive it are much more bonded to their mothers in the future as well.
- Babies who received kangaroo care early demonstrate better social competence in early childhood. They have better motor development, improved cognitive development and an overall positive sense of themselves.
How and When to Start
- Though Kangaroo care can be started immediately after delivery but it will depend upon the baby’s condition. The session must last for atleast an hour but initially it should be administered by a doctor or nurse.
- One must find a comfortable place to sit and have a lot of pillows, especially if the kangaroo care is to be given by the mother. It can also be done standing up but sitting done with pillows gives a better position for support.
- It is better to have a privacy screen so that the parent can partially undress to hold the baby close to the chest.
- Baby should be undressed down to the diaper and placed directly on the chest. Nurse must take the body temperature of the baby several times to make sure the temperature is maintained throughout the session.