Holding your baby closely to your chest is a special experience that will enforce the bond between you and your new family member.
This type of touch between you and your infant is not just important for bonding but can also have great medicinal and developmental benefits for your baby.
What is Kangaroo Care
The technique of holding your baby against your chest is called Kangaroo care. The name ‘Kangaroo Care’ comes from the way kangaroos hold their babies in their pouch.
For parents and caregivers, Kangaroo Care involves skin-to-skin contact with your baby in a wonderful way that can bring an extra special connection.
Kangaroo Care Skin to Skin
During a Kangaroo Care session, your baby will lay in only a diaper and on your or their caregiver’s bare chest for as long as the baby will allow.
A blanket, shirt, or robe can be wrapped around you and over your baby’s back for warmth. This wrapping of your infant into your chest looks very much like a mother kangaroo holding her baby in her pouch.
Skin to Skin Positions
The position of Kangaroo Care is important. When you're having skin-to-skin time, safety is paramount.
To start, you always want to make sure your baby can breathe. You don't want the baby's neck bent too far forward, and the baby's nose and mouth should always be uncovered.
Next, it is a good idea to save skin to skin for those times when you won't fall asleep. And when you are able to keep your little one in an upright position while you yourself sit in a semi-upright position with a pillow behind your back.
Benefits of Skin to Skin
Kangaroo Care gives something special to your baby that only your time and love can provide. By holding your baby skin-to-skin, you will feel the experience of new parenthood and closeness to your baby.
Kangaroo Mother Care
✅ Make more breast milk
✅ Reduce your stress
✅ Feel close to your baby
✅ Releases a hormone that promotes healing
Kangaroo Bonding Baby
Kangaroo Care for your baby is more than bonding time. This beautiful way of giving also provides health benefits to your baby that the medical community cannot provide.
✅ Keeps their body warm
✅ Keep his heart and breathing regular
✅ Gain weight
✅ Spend more time in deep sleep
✅ Spend more time being quiet when awake and less time crying
✅ Have a better chance of being able to breastfeed
✅ Accelerates brain development
✅ Promotes psychological well-being
✅ Cries less
Skin to Skin Dad
Kangaroo Care is not just for moms and babies. Research has also shown skin-to-skin helps to develop more caring behavior in dad or other partners and also a more sensitive approach to parenting.
Furthermore, Kangaroo Care has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in new dads which is greatly linked to anxiety, which means less stress and less anxiety. All of which have a direct positive correlation that naturally affects the family dynamic.
Skin to Skin Contact With Dad
The realities of birth sometimes make it an impossibility for mom to begin kangaroo care immediately. If mom is unwell after the birth or needs some time to rest this becomes the perfect time for dad to get involved.
Even in the best of circumstances it should be encouraged after every baby is born. It also starts to share the load between both parents and includes dad fully in the nurturing beauty that can happen right after their little human is born.
These times can become very special moments shared by the family.
Kangaroo Care NICU
It is well documented that for babies that are premature and little ones that have to spend time in the NICU, skin-to-skin contact between baby and parents can reduce the time and help them leave the NICU sooner.
In many cases Kangaroo Care is the only way to hold small premature babies at first because of their size and risk of getting cold.
Kangaroo care in the NICU is also very important for caregivers that may experience sadness or a hard time bonding due to a traumatic birth or their baby being away from home. It can also help stimulate a mother’s hormones that help increase milk supply.
Mothers who pump after skin to skin contact with their little one report getting a higher volume pumped than other pumping times.
Kangaroo Care Full Term
Kangaroo Care is not just for premature babies or those in the NICU. Skin to skin contact eases newborns' entry into the world after birth.
Doctors and hospitals are increasingly recommending Kangaroo Care for full term babies, as a way to reduce pain and lower stress in mothers and babies alike.
When to Stop Skin To Skin with Baby
With the benefits of skin-to-skin so great, pediatricians recommend this special contact continue for several months.
Some experts recommend Kangaroo Care for at least three months for full-term babies and six months for premature babies. For breastfeeding mothers this time can continue into the first year.
Benefits of Skin to Skin Care
The effects of Kangaroo Care will last a lifetime for caregivers and babies. This special time is beneficial not only developmentally and neurologically, but is also a gift that only you can give your baby.
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