Kangaroo Care … it may not be what you think

In my work at NICHQ (the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality) we focused a great deal of our efforts on improving the exclusive breastfeeding success rate. And in so doing a key component of the process was what is referred to as “skin-to-skin” contact between mother and baby (which is critically important for the health of both mother and baby).

So what does this have to do with Kangaroos and “Kangaroo Care“?

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From the Cleveland Clinic:

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What is kangaroo care?

Kangaroo care is a method of holding a baby that involves skin-to-skin contact. The baby, who is naked except for a diaper and a piece of cloth covering his or her back (either a receiving blanket or the parent’s clothing), is placed in an upright position against a parent’s bare chest. This snuggling of the infant inside the pouch of their parent’s shirt, much like a kangaroo’s pouch, led to the creation of the term “kangaroo care.”

What are the benefits of Kangaroo Care for baby?

  • Stabilization of the baby’s heart rate
  • Improved (more regular) breathing pattern
  • Improved oxygen saturation levels (an indicator of how well oxygen is being delivered to all the infants organs and tissues)
  • Gain in sleep time
  • More rapid weight gain
  • Decreased crying
  • More successful breastfeeding episodes

What are the benefits of Kangaroo Care for baby?

  • Improved bonding, feelings of closeness with their babies
  • Increased breast milk supply
  • Increased confidence in ability to care for their babies
  • Increased confidence that their babies are well cared for
  • Increased sense of control

It is amazing what we learn from animals as we continue to focus on improving the health and healthcare of our patients and families and communities.

Let’s keep learning, innovating, and healing … together … and as we do also ensure our animals and planet and one another are safe, whole and healthy.




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