Kangaroo Care

Nurturing care for your special delivery

DSCN0020The Center for Women and Infants at University of Louisville Hospital takes a personal approach when it comes to caring for newborn infants and their mothers with our Kangaroo Care program.

What is Kangaroo Care?

The practice of mother and baby “skin-to-skin” is called Kangaroo Care because it is similar to how a baby joey is carried by the mother kangaroo. Kangaroo Care stresses physical contact to provide a sense of safety for the infant, promote bonding and encourage the natural instinct of breastfeeding.

What are the benefits of Kangaroo Care?

  • Babies transition better after birth by being close to mother, hearing her heartbeat and voice, and feeling her touch.
  • Babies stay warmer through the “skin-to-skin” contact.
  • Babies may take the first feeding of mother’s milk easier.
  • Babies cry less and sleep more when held “skin-to-skin.”
  • Mothers produce more breast milk.
  • Babies will not notice pain as much when held “skin-to-skin” for shots or minor painful procedures.
  • Mothers and fathers feel more confident caring for their baby if they practice Kangaroo Care.
  • Kangaroo Care is good for the development of the baby’s brain.

When is Kangaroo Care done?

Kangaroo Care is begun immediately after birth, providing infant and mother are stable. During this time, the newborn — dressed only in a diaper and hat — rests and recovers from birth on the mother’s chest, skin to skin, so that he or she can smell mom’s scent, hear her heartbeat and voice, and be safe and warm. Fathers or the significant other are also encouraged to “Kangaroo” their newborn after the first four hours of life.

Kangaroo Care is promoted throughout your hospital stay. We also recommend it continues when mother and baby are home.

Is Kangaroo Care for all babies?

Kangaroo Care is not only good for full-term newborns, but it is for premature babies in the NICU as well. Skin-to-skin contact with the mother can help to stabilize the preterm infant’s heartbeat, temperature and breathing — something that preterm babies often have difficulty regulating.

Patient Education Video