Kangaroo Care Basics

What is Kangaroo Care?  

•Kangaroo Care means holding a diaper clad newborn bare chest to bare chest, with baby in an upright positioning, and baby’s head close enough to easily kiss.

•Kangaroo care can be done sitting with baby in a recliner, in a bed propped up on pillows, or while holding baby in a baby carrier.

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How do I position baby for Kangaroo Care?  

Positioning for Kangaroo care is just like positioning for babywearing!  The baby should be centered on your body, bare chest to bare chest, with their head close enough to kiss!  Baby’s chin should be lifted off of their chest and baby’s knees should be comfortably bent in a narrow spread squat position.

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Who can provide kangaroo care?

All newborns, both pre-term and full term, benefit from kangaroo care!

Kangaroo care can be done by anyone the parent chooses.  This might include mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, and friends.   For tips on sibling Kangaroo Care, see this post on  Including Older Siblings in a New Baby’s Kangaroo Care!

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How much Kangaroo Care should we do?

The short answer is as much as possible!  The more you do, the more baby will benefit!  Researchers who study kangaroo care typically recommend about 90 minutes of Kangaroo care, four days per week for the first three months.

Why do Kangaroo Care?

There are so many reasons to do kangaroo care!  Kangaroo care facilitates bonding between the baby and caregiver.  It promotes healthy sleep.  Babies in Kangaroo care spend more time in quiet sleep which is so key to brain development.  When paired with breastfeeding, kangaroo care can prevent infection, reduce weight loss after birth, and encourage faster weight gain.   Kangaroo care increases oxytocin production.  In a breastfeeding parent, this boosts milk supply.  Oxytocin can reduce a parent’s  stress and anxiety and increases affectionate behavior toward the infant.  Oxytocin also increases parents’  attachment and sense involvement with the baby’s care.  Kangaroo care lowers infant stress and reduces the infant’s perception of pain.  Kangaroo care can even reduce infant crying.

So kick back on your couch, binge on your favorite netflix shows and snuggle that baby skin to skin!  It’s great for both of you!  🙂

 

 

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