Kangaroo Care for Premature Babies

Michele Zipp
8

kangaroo careI'm learning a lot of new terms being a first time mom-in-waiting, but by far my favorite term is kangaroo care.

I kind of feel like a kangaroo right now -- my twins are inside my belly, I even kind of hop around (OK hobble is more like it).

Kangaroo care is great for babies, especially premature babies, and it's skin-to-skin contact with mama or even papa -- belly to belly, baby's head between breast with ear to heart -- for two to three hours at a time.

This falls in the similar category as baby wearing, but when it comes to preemies, it's especially good for their development. Moms of multiples have a higher chance of having babies early, so I'm learning all I can.

With kangaroo care, a premature baby's temperature, heartbeat, and breathing can be regulated when she is held skin-to-skin in her mother's arms.

The book Kangaroo Care: The Best You Can Do to Help Your Preterm Infant by Susan Ludington-Hoe shares that this practice started in Columbia in an unheated hospital to help preemies survive and thrive. After this care was implemented, survival rates for preterm infants rose 40 percent.

Many nurses in the NICU encourage moms to practice kangaroo care for around three hours a day to help in the baby's development and growth as it synchronizes its vitals with mom. 

I am so ready to be a kangaroo mama. I'm going to tell papa about it, too.

Have you heard of kangaroo care? Is this something you are interested in trying with your baby, preemie or not?

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