The Benefits of Kangaroo Care

Posted by Jocelyn Albertson on

What is Kangaroo Care?

                    What’s sweeter than a newborn snuggled up to you, content and asleep? Did you know this very act, which feels completely instinctual, has amazing health benefits for both mama and baby? Skin-to-skin snuggles are also called Kangaroo Care. Kangaroo Care consists of holding a bare baby (diapered or not) chest-to-chest with a caregiver. There has been an increasing trend in hospitals to promote skin-to-skin immediately after birth because of the benefits involved for both mother and baby. Studies show that it fulfills the basic biological needs of the mother and baby, especially when maintained for the first 2 hours after birth.

Ways that Kangaroo Care helps babies*:

  • Regulates heart rate and oxygenation
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Increases blood glucose levels
  • Decreases cortisol/stresslevels
  • Increase in smiling at 3 months
  • Increase in breastfeeding success

Ways that Kangaroo Care helps mothers:

  • Increase in bonding with both parents
  • Decrease in cortisol/stress levels
  • Decrease in anxiety
  • Increase in milk supply
*compared to swaddled holding, swaddled in a bassinet or under a warmer as an incubator Babies born prematurely (before 36/37 weeks), or babies needing additional support after birth especially benefit from this. Kangaroo Care is encouraged for the first 20+ weeks of life. The simplest way to offer Kangaroo Care is by wearing your baby, ideally with a woven or stretchy wrap. These wraps help you keep baby close and can be used for skin-to-skin contact with your baby. Instinctive Parent sells a variety of wraps that work amazingly well for this, including the Happy Baby Wrap, the Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid Wrap, and Didymos woven wraps. These can be used in the NICU if you have a baby there as well. If you have any questions about using a wrap with your baby, the babywearing educators at Instinctive Parent are happy to help. More information on Kangaroo Care can be found here.

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