After your baby is born, as long as both you and your baby are doing well, you will place your baby skin-to-skin in what is called “Kangaroo Care.”
What is Kangaroo Care?
The practice of mother and baby “skin-to-skin” is called Kangaroo Care. It is similar to how a baby joey is carried by the mother kangaroo. Kangaroo Care is the best way for baby to make the transition to the outside world. It stresses physical contact to provide a sense of safety for the infant, promote bonding and encourages the natural instinct of breastfeeding.
What are the benefits of Kangaroo Care?
- Babies transition better after birth by being close to mom, hearing her heartbeat and voice, and feeling her touch.
- Helps regulate baby’s body temperature and keeps the baby warm.
- Regulates baby’s blood sugar.
- Promotes breastfeeding:
- Most babies will try to breastfeed while in Kangaroo Care. Even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, let the baby lead the way – they know what they need. The nurse will be there to help.
- Mothers who do Kangaroo Care produce more breast milk.
- Promotes early bonding between mother and baby.
- Babies cry less and sleep more when held skin-to-skin.
- Babies don’t notice pain as much when held skin-to-skin. For example, when shots are given or minor painful procedures are performed.
- Parents feel more confident caring for their baby.
- Good for baby’s brain development.
- In preterm babies, Kangaroo Care can help stabilize the baby’s heartbeat, temperature and breathing.
When is Kangaroo Care done?
Kangaroo Care begins immediately after birth, as long as baby and mom are stable. During this time, the baby — dressed only in a diaper and hat — rests and recovers from birth on mom’s chest skin-to-skin. The baby can smell mom’s scent, hear her heartbeat and voice, and feel safe and warm. Fathers or other partners in care are also encouraged to “Kangaroo” their baby.
Kangaroo Care is encouraged throughout your hospital stay. We also recommend it continues when you are at home.
Is Kangaroo Care for all babies?
Kangaroo Care is not only good for full-term babies, but it is for premature babies in the NICU as well. Skin-to-skin contact with mom can help to steady the preterm baby’s heartbeat, temperature and breathing — something they often have difficulty doing.