Kangaroo Care: A Special Bond Between Premature Babies and their Parents

In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, please take a moment to learn about one of our beloved, family-centered care techniques practiced in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit – beneficial for babies, mommies and daddies alike.

Kangaroo care is the practice of giving a sick or premature baby skin-to-skin contact — usually against a parent’s chest. The practice has been adopted worldwide because of the significant advantages for premature babies. Studies show this kind of bonding has many health benefits for these babies, including assisting in maintaining an infant’s body warmth, higher blood oxygen levels, improved sleep, improved breast-feeding and improved weight gain.

It’s good for parents, too. Kangaroo care promotes bonding and boosts parenting confidence. Mothers showed improved breast milk production. CHOC Children’s NICU experts at both hospital campuses, promote skin-to-skin contact with even the most fragile little patients, including extremely low birth weight babies and those on ventilators.

There is no doubt there have been many advances in the care of sick and premature babies, not just in technology and medicine, but also in meeting their special emotional and developmental needs. Kangaroo care is one more technique contributing to a supportive environment that helps premature babies mature and develop as they would in their mother’s womb.

To learn more about our caring for babies in the NICU please visit our CHOC Children’s Pediatric Health Library at:
http://www.choc.org/healthlibrary/topic.cfm?PageID=P02414 .

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