11 Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact: Kangaroo Care

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Kangaroo care promotes stability in vital parameters, promotes development of the child, improves immune system, improves sleep, increases the bond between parents and infant, helps in soothing the infant’s feelings and also helps with breastfeeding.

Kangaroo care is a term that was coined in the 1970s. Overcrowded nurseries, hospital acquired infections, lack of resources are some of the reasons why kangaroo care was resorted. However, the medical community soon discovered the benefits of this type of care. Both the mother and the infant seemed to benefit from this type of care. So kangaroo care has become a norm in many neonatal nurseries around the nurseries.

What is Kangaroo Care?

The word “Kangaroo care” is derived from the way in which marsupials like kangaroo take care of their children. The pouch in kangaroos that holds their infants have a lot to do with the bonding between the child and the parent as well as development of the infant. Doctors have found that the skin to skin contact between the mother and the child promotes development to the child.

Benefits of Kangaroo Care

kangaroo care benefits

Kangaroo care provides both physiological and psychological benefits to the child and its parents.

Promotes stability in vital parameters

It brings about stability in vital parameters of the baby such as temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.

Promotes development of the child

It also helps in the development of cognitive functions like memory, attention etc and motor functions like buttoning clothes, turning pages, eating etc. It also promotes faster weight gain by the baby.

Improves immune system

It helps in improving the immune system of the infant. The skin to skin contact of the infant with the infant promotes the immune system of the baby.

Improves sleep

It can help your baby have a deep sleep. Deep sleep is an attribute of infants, but sometimes their sleep does get disturbed. With the help of kangaroo care you can help the baby achieve deep sleep.

Increases the bond between parents and infant

It helps in enhancing the bond between the parents and the child. This can lead to reduced stress and anxiety for the baby and therefore less crying.

It helps in soothing the infant’s feelings

You can sooth your baby with kangaroo care as infants find the mother’s heartbeat soothing. If you have a fussy baby, you can try kangaroo care to sooth it.

Enhanced sensitivity of the mother towards the infant

It leads to enhanced sensitivity of the mother towards the infant. New mothers usually lack in sensitivity to the child. This is mostly because of a lack of attachment with the baby. They are also not accustomed with the ways of nurturing a child. Initially, she may not even feel inclined to get involved in all the chores of caring for a child. If the mother as well as the father undergoes few sessions of kangaroo care with the baby, they can develop a enhanced sensitivity towards the baby.

Inspires confidence in new mothers

It also inspires new mothers to take care of their children on their own. They get the confidence to handle the chores themselves. So they may need to stay in the hospital for a shorter duration.

Abates production of breast milk

A big benefit of kangaroo care is that it helps in the production of breast milk. In fact, new mothers often face difficulty in production of breast milk. With few sessions of kangaroo care with your child, your chances of producing breast milk increases many fold.

Helps with breastfeeding

New mothers are not at all experienced with breastfeeding. They do experience a lot of difficulties in trying to breastfeed their children. This happens even if there is no problem with production of milk. However, if you undergo few sessions of kangaroo care, you are more likely to succeed in breastfeeding your child in first few attempts. This is mostly because of the fact that you grow enhanced sensitivity towards the infant.

Helps with postpartum depression

There are many mothers who suffer from postpartum depression. A kangaroo care can help mothers get out of that. If kangaroo care is resorted to just hours after birth, mothers may not at all develop postpartum depression at all.

How Long Do You Need To Practice It

Doctors, in general, encourage parents to continue kangaroo care since it promotes benefits for both mother and child. But how long should each session last in order to reap the benefits in long term? Obviously, you need to give it some time. But if you practice kangaroo care with your child for about half an hour twice a day, you can elicit the benefits of this unique care. Moreover, you can continue to get engaged in kangaroo care even if the baby has grown up to some extent. It has much to develop in the days to come and kangaroo care can help it in this respect. So continue to get involved in kangaroo care for as long as possible.

References

https://www.fitpregnancy.com/baby/baby-care/kangaroo-care-9-benefits-skin-skin-contact

https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=220158f5-1880-40da-9dcb-8f13f30aa983

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