Kangaroo care is the skin-to-skin holding of an infant on or next to your chest. It's a special way of bonding and getting to know your newborn. The name comes from how a kangaroo mother uses her pouch to carry her baby next to her skin. Moms and dads can do kangaroo care. In fact, anyone can hold an infant this way. You can start in the hospital and keep doing it when you are home.
Holding your baby skin-to-skin has emotional and physical benefits for both you and your baby. Holding and touching brings you and your newborn close to each other and adds to the bonding process.
You bond naturally with your baby just by spending time together. Holding and caring for your baby teaches your baby to trust you. A strong bond builds a foundation for positive relationships throughout your child's life.
Kangaroo care may help your baby to:
Kangaroo care may help you to:
Find a comfortable position. You can hold your baby while you sit in bed. Or you can use a chair or rocker.
Simply hold your baby upright on your chest, skin-to-skin. All your baby needs to wear is a diaper. You can wear a loose shirt, a shirt that opens down the front, or even no shirt. Place a shawl or blanket around your shoulders. If you like, you can drape a blanket over the baby's back for more warmth.
Whether you hold your baby for a few minutes or a few hours, you will both benefit from this warm cuddling.
Check with the hospital staff about when and how to hold your baby. Depending on your child's condition, you may need to wait. But skin-to-skin holding can be good for babies who are sick or underweight. Even if your baby is attached to feeding and breathing machines, you may be able to do kangaroo care.
The staff knows that you want to hold your baby as soon as possible. They will help make this happen.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: March 27, 2018
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jennifer Merchant, MD - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
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