Kangaroo Care is the practice of holding a stable baby close, with skin-to-skin contact between the baby and the mother or father.
The baby wears only a diaper and is placed on the parent’s bare chest. The baby is then covered by the parent’s clothes to create a warm, comfortable pocket – like a kangaroo! The parent’s warm body gives heat to the baby to keep the baby warm.
Babies who receive Kangaroo Care enjoy:
- better weight gain
- more sleep
- less crying
- better breathing patterns
- earlier breastfeeding.
With Kangaroo Care, many parents report feeling closer to their baby. They may also feel better handling and caring for their baby. Many mothers who are breast feeding have more milk when they provide Kangaroo Care.
Kangaroo Care is started slowly, first for about an hour. As time goes by, Kangaroo Care may last longer, holding several hours at a time. Together with the NICU team, you may decide when and how you and your baby will "Kangaroo."
Kangaroo Care takes place at your baby’s bedside. Nurses can help place your baby on your bare chest and wrap the baby in your shirt. Blankets may be added to cover your baby as needed. You can pull the bedside curtains closed if you want more privacy. You baby will continue to be monitored while you Kangaroo hold. Your nurse will be nearby to check on you both and offer help as needed.
Kangaroo Care tips:
- Wear a clean shirt. Shirts with button-front are best.
- Report any skin rash or sores to your baby's nurse before holding your baby.
- Smell clean – no perfume or smoke odor.
- Use the bathroom first.
- Eat and drink before holding baby.
- Bring headphones and music to help you relax.
- A small mirror can be used to help you see your baby as you hold him.
- Save this time as special for you and your baby – no siblings or visitors at this time.
- Silence your cell phone and put it away while holding your baby. You want this special time with your baby to be uninterrupted.