One thing you hear a lot in the hospital just after birth is the importance of skin-to-skin contact, or better known as kangaroo care! This is an easy and extremely important bonding interaction between baby and mom and even dad that can be done at home. Placing baby against your skin has been shown to help them regulate their temperature and blood sugar, encourage bonding, encourage breastfeeding and provide general comfort.
Below is a great introduction video for skin-to-skin contact, please view!
Kangaroo care is often implemented immediately after birth to stabilize the infant and prevent hypothermia (low temperature). This can be done and is encourages for both vaginal and caesarean- section deliveries. It has also been shown to stabilize blood glucose, decrease crying, and provide cardiorespiratory stability. This promotes early breastfeeding and bonding between infant and mom. This time is also crucial for temperature control. Infants are often cold and need to be warmed. No radiant or heater is more effective than this simple skin-to-skin contact. There are also benefits for mom! Those who breastfeed within 30 minutes of the infant’s birth are less likely to bleed in the postpartum period and are less likely to develop postpartum depression. Kangaroo care promotes this early feeding.
Later in the postpartum stay, skin-to-skin is less emphasized but just as important. You can ask your nurse or the lactation consultant about it at any time, especially if there are breastfeeding issues. While in the hospital, infants are often subjected to painful procedures such as vaccinations and blood draws. Kangaroo care has been shown to decrease the pain response in infants during these procedures.
Benefits of this care are many, most in breastfeeding. Studies have shown that continued kangaroo care improves breastfeeding latch, increases feeding times, and also the amount of expressed milk. Other studies have shown that continue kangaroo care can also increase frontal brain activity, which is thought to improve neurobehavioral outcomes in infants as they grow. Infants with kangaroo care also have a more mature sleep organization with increased total time and decreased arousals from sleep.
Below are a few videos on the benefits of skin-to-skin if you need further explanation on anything! Third video includes c-section specific information on healing and bonding.
This care can also be implemented as home! Whenever possible, most often before or after a feeding, simply remove all babies’ clothes, except the diaper, place them against your bare chest and place a blanket over the both of you. Dad can also do this before, after, or not around the feeding schedule at all! Having Dad participate in care this way helps him bond with the infant that he may have been feeling left out of. Studies show that dads report and much greater sense of closeness and bonding with their baby.
Below is a video about dad’s and kangaroo care and how it can affect their relationship! Show this to baby’s dad so that he can understand the benefits as well!
Below is a video about this care in general and includes continuing it at home and for the first three months of life!
Continued kangaroo care has been shown to promote growth and development along with increased bonding satisfaction between both parents and the baby. Breastfeeding is also improved and encourages weight gain.
Infants feel a sense of calm and safety when being held and touched. Kangaroo care helps a baby grow and bond with its parents. Attached here is another helpful handout with more information.
Kangaroo care is a great way to help promote healthy eating habits, bonding, growth and development and general health in your baby! It is simple and can be easily done at home!
Please email me with any questions!