Promoting the Kangaroo Care Approach

Kangaroo care involves babies being carried by their mother with skin-to-skin contact. Whether your baby is premature or full term, both of you could benefit from kangaroo care. At University Hospitals, we are strong advocates of kangaroo care and strive to educate mothers on how to implement it into their lives.

Benefits of Kangaroo Care

Your new baby is soothed by your loving touches. Skin-to-skin care provides many benefits to you and your baby right after your baby is born and even after your discharge from the hospital. Your baby will be placed on your chest between your breasts or on a breast with only his/her diaper on. You may turn your gown around with the opening to the front and then close the gown around your baby along with a sheet and blanket over both of you.

At delivery, baby will be first dried and then four layers of dry blankets will be used. Some of the benefits to you and your baby are listed below.

Bonding

  • This provides bonding time between you and your baby.
  • You and your baby will feel calmer, more comfortable and more secure.
  • You will have more time to rest/sleep when you’re not feeding and caring for your baby.
  • Your baby’s father, grandparents, older siblings and others will feel involved when they can provide kangaroo care also.
  • You can continue skin-to-skin care after you go home to provide this soothing and bonding care.

Crying

  • Your baby will cry less from birth and up to six months old because he or she will feel more secure in the new surroundings.
  • With less crying, your baby burns less calories and has more energy for growth and weight gain.
  • Less crying will help your baby’s heart rate and breathing becomes even.

Body Temperature

  • Your body temperature will go up and down to help your new baby maintain normal body temperature.
  • Your baby’s body temperature may go down a little bit after the first bath. Skin-to-skin care will help to bring it back to normal range.

Illness/Infections

  • Babies who have skin-to-skin care don’t get sick as often during the first 6 months after birth as babies who don’t have it.

Breastfeeding

  • Your baby will get used to your scent, the sight of your breast and face and the feelings which help him or her to root, lick, taste and finally latch on with active sucking and swallowing.
  • You will produce more breast milk and increase your milk supply

Safe Positioning for Skin-to-Skin Contact

  • Checklist for Baby
  • Baby’s face can be seen
  • Head is in “sniffing position”
  • Neck is straight, not bent
  • Shoulders are flat against Mom
  • Chest-to-chest with Mom
  • Legs flexed
  • A little upright, not flat on bed/chair
  • Cover the back with blankets
  • Both are watched when sleeping or baby is being monitored.
  • If no one can watch you and baby after feedings and when sleep is likely, put your baby on his or her back in the baby’s own firm bed.

Sources:

Lawrence, Ruth A. & Lawrence, Robert M. “Breastfeeding, A Guide for the Medical Professional,” Eighth edition, ELSEVIER, 2016.

Ludington-Hoe, S.M., Morgan, K. (2014). Infant assessment and reduction of sudden unexpected postnatal collapse risk during skin-to-skin contact. Newborn & Infant Nursing Reviews, 14, 28-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.nainr.2013.12.009

Ludington-Hoe, S.M., Morgan, K., Morrison, B., Anderson, G.C. “Skin-To-Skin Certified Kangaroo Caregiver Learner’s Program Manual. 9th edition, 2015.

Wambach, Karen and Riordan, Jan “Breastfeeding and Human Lactation,” Fifth edition, Jones & Bartlett, 2016