Introduction to Kangaroo Care: How it helps the baby
Kangaroos are marsupial mammals that have pouches called marsupium. The pouch is meant to provide protection and give nourishment for almost nine months to the underdeveloped jelly bean-sized newborn. Have you noticed the baby in that pouch? It is in very close proximity to the mama kangaroo. Such a beautiful, smart and meaningful way of survival of the joey, baby kangaroo! Isn’t it?
Kangaroo Care is now being widely practiced and is based on the same above concept. In simple terms, it can be termed as mamas and papas’ snug. Technically, Kangaroo Care is skin-to-skin contact (SSC) of a newborn baby with a parent, either mother or father. The baby dressed in a diaper and cap is held close & directly on the chest of a father and in between the breast if it’s a mother.
So now that you know what Kangaroo Care is all about, Mommypure brings to you a little more on the why’s, when, and how’s related to this topic.
Kangaroo Care introduction history
Kangaroo Care started to be in practice in the 1970s and was prescribed for preterm infants or those in critical care. Basically, those hospitals lacked incubators or had inefficient ones. The result in improvements and overall health of the infant was remarkable and this was then followed by many and it also became a subject of clinical research. Off late, this technique is carried out in all babies, sick and healthy, immediately after birth.
Benefits that are evident are as follows
Lessens the chances of hospital-acquired infections
Reduces the rate of infant mortality
Eases and promotes breastfeeding
Helps gain weight
Crates an early bond between baby and parents.
Smoothly regulates the body temperature
Improves the physiological functions, that of breathing and heart rate
Reduces the morbidity and mortality
Lowers the chances of hypothermia
Lessens the stress levels and pain
Improves birth weight and brain development
Enhances sleep duration and quality
Hospital stay gets reduced
Snuggling with a baby creates and develops a beautiful bonding right at the initial period. The infant also gets familiarised with the parent’s body scent and voice. They stay comfortable and the stress levels decrease. As the baby grows, the chances of crying episodes reduce and they are easy to settle down. It helps mothers produce more milk and promotes breastfeeding. Postpartum anxiety lowers. This Kangaroo Care enhances parental skills and confidence in raising the child.
Kangaroo Care position has to be correct especially in cases of preterm infants because there are already so many wires and tubes insertions. It should also avoid any potential harm and risk that may occur due to faulty handling of the baby.
So, how is snuggling with baby carried out?
Firstly, let the baby wear a diaper and cap or hat. The chest of the parent should be bare. The baby is placed on the chest of a parent in a flexed position. The skin-to-skin contact should be maximum. In the case of a mother, the baby lies between the breasts. A wrap is tied around the adult’s body with the baby in this position to provide a correct and constant flexed state. This wrapping also guarantees a good hold. The baby should not have any pressure or folds on the body. The parent may opt for covering their body with a light garment that opens in the front. The parent offering Kangaroo Care should be clean and without body lotions/ perfumes/ deodorants. The skin should not have any kind of infection/ sores/ boils. Smoking should be avoided well before the session. The caregiver also has to be in a comfortable position and all personal breaks should be through before the session. Mobile or any distracting sounds should be avoided. It has to be a complete involvement emotionally and physically as well.
This position will stimulate the senses necessary for the baby's development via the parent’s voice, breathing, heartbeat, skin touch, and affectionate warmth, all flooded with profound love and healing.