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About Skin-to-Skin / Kangaroo Care

How did Kangaroo Care start and why?

Kangaroo Care, also known as skin-to-skin care, originated in the late 1970s at a hospital in Bogotá, Colombia.

The approach was developed by pediatrician Dr. Edgar Rey Sanabria and his colleagues as a response to the shortage of incubators and resources for premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Facing the challenge of providing optimal care for these vulnerable infants, they encouraged mothers to hold their babies against their bare chests, mimicking the natural kangaroo pouch.

This method not only proved to be a practical solution to incubator limitations but also demonstrated numerous health benefits for preterm infants.

Kangaroo Care helps regulate the baby's body temperature, heart rate, and breathing, promotes weight gain, and fosters the crucial bonding between parents and their premature babies. Over time, Kangaroo Care has become a widely recognized and recommended practice in neonatal care worldwide.

What is Skin to Skin / Kangaroo Care?

Kangaroo Care is a beautiful practice involving skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest contact between a caregiver and a baby, promoting warmth, bonding, and overall well-being.

When can I start Kangaroo Care with my baby?

Kangaroo Care can commence immediately upon your baby's birth, irrespective of whether they are premature or full-term. It offers a wonderful opportunity to establish a connection right from the start. Follow the guidance provided by the healthcare team and actively advocate for safely holding the baby.

How long should the baby be on Kangaroo Care each day?

Ideally, aim for several hours daily. The more skin-to-skin contact, the better, as it is healing and strengthens the emotional connection between you and your baby. The WHO recommends holding between 8 and 24 hours per day for preemies.

What are the benefits of Kangaroo Care for my baby?

Kangaroo Care has numerous benefits, including temperature regulation, stable heart and respiratory rates, improved weight gain, enhanced breastfeeding success, increased parent confidence, decrease mortality and morbidities, early hospital discharge, and emotional bonding.

Can Kangaroo Care be done by both parents?

Absolutely! Both parents and anyone with their permission to hold the baby are strongly encouraged to enjoy the special experience of Kangaroo Care.

It's a fantastic way for each parent and grandparent to bond with the baby, increase confidence, and love nurturing the baby.

Is Kangaroo Care only for premature babies?

No, Kangaroo Care is extremely beneficial for both premature and full-term babies. It provides comfort, security, and nurtures the parent-child relationship. It promotes sleeping, and reduces moments of anxiety and crying. Every baby loves that! Kangaroo care is also known as the "fourth trimester care" so it lasts for three months after the due date.

How does Kangaroo Care help with breastfeeding?

Kangaroo Care promotes breastfeeding by fostering a positive feeding experience and encouraging the release of oxytocin, a hormone essential for milk production.

How can I make Kangaroo Care comfortable for both me and my baby?

  • Use a comfortable chair or recline on the bed (never lay down flat while holding),
  • Ensure your baby is secure on your bare chest, covered with a kangaroo care safety device such as The Zaky ZAK®
  • Use a blanket for warmth as needed.

Can grandparents or others participate in Kangaroo Care?

While the term is traditionally associated with parents, the nurturing benefits of skin-to-skin contact can be shared with loving grandparents or other adults, too. It's all about building connections and fostering love within the family.

About Kangaroo Care Day

Who celebrates Kangaroo Care Day (May 15)?

Kangaroo Care Day on May 15 is celebrated globally, recognizing and promoting the importance of kangaroo care in infant health.

It is not limited to a specific region or group but serves as a day for raising awareness and acknowledging the significance of skin-to-skin contact in promoting the well-being of infants and fostering parent-child bonds.

Healthcare institutions, professionals, parents, and communities around the world may participate in activities and events to commemorate Kangaroo Care Day.

Today, Kangaroo Care is celebrated annually on May 15, acknowledging its positive impact on newborns and the enduring legacy of Dr. Edgar Rey Sanabria's pioneering efforts.