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.
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.
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.