Kangaroo care is a holding technique in which the infant is held in a skin-to-skin fashion. The baby wears only a diaper and is gently pressed against the mother or father’s bare chest. Named after the marsupial known for tucking its baby in its pouch, kangaroo care was first established as a way to warm an infant like an incubator in the absence of one. This method works to regulate the baby’s body temperature by using the parent’s stable body heat.
Back to basics
Outside the United States, not all countries have the technology and health care necessary to ensure the safety of newborns and premature infants. Kangaroo care takes us back to instinct. Despite available equipment and technology, the kangaroo technique has proven to be a successful and effective developmental method for over 40 years in the United States. By positioning your baby on your bare chest for 60 minutes or more, you trigger a rush of hormones that has advantages for both mother and baby.
Benefits for baby
Kangaroo care helps accelerate the infant’s brain development, reduces stress and tears, regulates body temperature, improves quality of sleep, enhances the immune system, stimulates digestions and weight gain, synchronizes heartbeat and breathing, and encourages breastfeeding behaviors.
Benefits for mom
Not only does kangaroo care comfort and support the baby, but it also has its perks for mom. Holding your baby close can lead to reduced risks of postpartum depression and promotes a psychological wellbeing. It increases milk production, and even speeds up recovery time!
Making kangaroo care simple
In the whirlwind of today’s world, even taking 60 minutes daily to practice kangaroo care seems like an impossible task. But there are many chances to practice this closeness with your infant. If you’re looking for a way to get skin-close while keeping your hands relatively free, you can try a carrier designed specifically for the task, like the NuRoo (shown in image above)—a baby-carrying shirt offering skin-to-skin contact, coverage and mobility. Complete with a support belt capable of holding up to 15 pounds, the NuRoo is machine washable and can be found at Babies R Us or online.