Early separation resulting from premature birth has deprived you the opportunity to hold and bond with your baby.
As your baby grows and condition has stabilised, the concept of 'Kangaroo Care' is introduced.
Kangaroo care is a method of holding a baby that involves skin-to-skin contact. Your baby, who is naked except for a diaper and a piece of cloth (either a receiving blanket or the parent's clothing) covering his or her back, is placed in an upright position against the parent's bare chest. This snuggling of the baby inside the pouch of their parent's shirt simulates a kangaroo's pouch, leading to the creation of the term "kangaroo care."
There is no better way to know your baby other than to practice kangaroo care where you and your baby can bond together. Fathers can provide kangaroo care for their babies too!
Kangaroo care came about as a response to the high death rate in preterm babies seen in Bogota, Columbia, in the late 1970s. The death rate for premature infants was 70 percent. Infants were dying due to infections, respiratory problems and simply due to lack of attention. Researchers found that babies who were held close to their mothers' bodies for large portions of the day, not only survived, but thrived.
The benefits of kangaroo care to the baby include:
The benefits of kangaroo care to the parents include:
Research studies have shown that skin-to-skin bonding stabilises heart and respiratory rates, improves oxygen saturation rates, better regulates an infant's body temperature and help conserves calories.
When a mother is "kangarooing". her baby typically snuggles into the mother's breasts and falls asleep within a few minutes. The breasts change in temperature to accommodate the baby's body temperature accordingly. Thus, the breasts can increase in temperature when the baby's body is cold and can decrease in temperature as the baby is warmed.
The extra sleep that your baby gets snuggling with the mother and the assistance in regulating body temperature, helps the baby conserve energy and redirects calorie expenditures towards growth and weight gain. Research has also shown that kangaroo care results in positive effects on brain development.
Your nurse will discuss kangaroo care with you.
General instructions for performing kangaroo care:
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