Kangaroo care and premature babies
Kangaroo Care or Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), is a method, commonly used for low birth-weight and preterm babies. It is a technique that involves skin-to-skin care where premature babies are kept chest to chest with a parent and refers to the way that kangaroos carry their babies
Kangaroo care was developed in the 1970s to care for preterm babies in countries where mortality rates were high, nurseries were overcrowded, and there was a lack of resources like incubators and warming devices. A high death rate in preterm babies, lead to researchers finding out that babies who were held close to their mothers’ bodies for longer periods of time, did not only survive but even thrive.
Kangaroo Mother Care is recommended by WHO (World Health Organisation) for the routine care of newborns weighing 2000g or less at birth.
Even for full-term infants, skin-to-skin carrying is encouraged by health care professionals for both parents, promoting both bonding and breast milk production.
The pre-tied Najell Wrap is optimal for kangaroo care. It’s easy to use and enables you to carry your baby skin to skin without showing a naked back. Read more about the Najell Wrap here.
What are the benefits of Kangaroo Care?
Low birth weight and preterm babies are more likely to suffer from hypothermia. Kangaroo mother care has proven to be effective in regulating body temperature and increasing the possibility of breastfeeding and weight gain.
Kangaroo mother care has even shown to reduce mortality, severe illness, infection and length of hospital stay, especially in developing countries, with limited access to healthcare and resources.
How does kangaroo care work?
Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact stabilizes the heart and respiratory rates, improves oxygen saturation rates, helps regulate an infant’s body temperature and the baby can better conserve calories.
Studies also show that the mother's breasts have the ability to change in temperature to help and accommodate the baby’s temperature needs.
The skin-to-skin contact helps the baby fall asleep. The sleep that the infants get and the assistance in regulating body temperature helps the baby conserve energy and use the calories towards growth and weight gain.
Kangaroo care is therefore recommended for various reasons for both premature and full-term babies. It’s beneficial for bonding and healthy development and can help newborns get a good start in life.