Sometimes you take baby advice from doctors, sometimes from family members and other times from kangaroos.
For new moms, Kangaroo Care is a method of doing skin-to-skin contact with their babies, and it has many benefits for both parents and babies.
“Skin-to-skin contact can help put the baby in their most relaxed state, establish a strong bond between new parents and their baby, provide warmth and regulate the baby’s body temperature,” says Kim Popp, RN, manager of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at HealthEast St. John’s Hospital.
Kangaroo Care is as simple as letting a baby lay on their parent's bare chest. But, other skin-to-skin contact such as a baby being held in a caregiver's arms can also be calming for both of them.
Our experts recommend new parents use Kangaroo Care in the hospital after a baby is born, but also at home as the baby continues to grow. Skin-to-skin contact is helpful for parents and their baby for any amount of time, so there's no right or wrong amount of time to do Kangaroo Care.
St. John’s Hospital, Woodwinds Health Campus and The Birthplaces at Fairview have used skin-to-skin contact as a best practice for years, and it’s been a hit with both parents and babies.
“I feel like skin-to-skin contact makes my relationship with my son stronger, and I feel like he knows who his parent is because of it," says Kalana Morgan. "It brings an intense connection, but also a sense of peace and is calming.”
Kangaroo Care has helped Kalana relax while her son, Kingston has been in the NICU.
“Kangaroo Care helped me relieve a lot of anxiety and the panic attacks I was having,” Kalana says. “It’s helped my baby grow and want to be with me. He gets upset when we don’t do skin-to-skin!”
But Kangaroo Care's benefits don't stop there.
"Skin-to-skin contact can also help with the mother's milk production," Kim says. "And, if a parent puts the baby over their heart, the baby will hear their parent’s heart rate which is calming to them."
Kalana recommends other parents use Kangaroo Care to experience its many benefits.
“I think it's great that St. John’s Hospital staff recommends Kangaroo Care,” Kalana says. “It makes me feel like a good mom. I suggest it for other parents, too, as it strengthens the bond between yourself and your child.”