Kangaroo care or skin-to-skin care is a special way both mums and dads can spend time holding their baby, and it’s an experience parents remember fondly during their hospital stay.
Having a baby born not as expected, whether that be sick or premature, can be life-changing but know that you are not alone. Also know, that there is support available to help you cope and navigate the NICU and life at home, along with connecting with others going through a similar experience, visit: www.miraclebabies.org.au to find out more.
Babies wear only a nappy during kangaroo care and are placed in an upright position directly on their dad’s bare chest or between their mum’s bare breasts. The baby’s head will be turned to the side, and then a blanket is placed on top. Depending on your baby’s medical condition, you may be able to have your first cuddle on the day that they are born. Other times, you may need to wait days or weeks before their condition is stable enough for you to do so. It is a good idea to ask your baby’s nurse when would be a good time, as some days may be better than others depending on how your baby is feeling, how you are feeling or what is going on in the nursery.
Kangaroo care can be done with both premature and full-term babies and is known to have many benefits.
Benefits to baby:
- Maintaining baby’s body temperature
- Regulating baby’s heart and breathing rates
- Encouraging baby to spend more time in a deep sleep
- Increasing baby’s weight gain
- Improving oxygen saturation levels
- Longer periods of alertness
- Helping to promote frequent breastfeeding
Benefits to parents:
- Can build confidence
- Increasing your bond with your baby and can ease the feeling of separation
- Can improve breast milk production and increases the chances of successful
Parents should not apply strong perfumes and deodorant or smoke before participating in kangaroo care time with their baby. If the doctors feel that cuddling would be too much for your baby, you can still comfort them by offering your finger to grasp, talk, or sing to them.
I visited my son an average of 12 hours every day and spent most hours next to his bedside. The time I treasured most was our daily Kangaroo cuddles; we would spend 2 hours snuggling together, often with the both of us drifting off to sleep. Though there were lots happening around us, it often seemed that we were the only two people in the room.Naomi, Mum to Caden born at 29 weeks.
Visit www.miraclebabies.org.au for more information and support to help you through your experience.