Kangaroo Care

If your baby is born prematurely, the medical staff may suggest that you work with them to provide kangaroo care. This simple but powerful method eases premature babies into the world by keeping them skin-to-skin on their mothers chests as much as possible.

The nearness of her scent, motion and heartbeat seems to help many preterm infants stabilize their bodily processes and catch up to their full-term peers more easily.

Full-term infants also benefit from kangaroo care. Studies have found that newborns held skin-to-skin against their mothers chest within the first hour after birth are calmer, cry less, have improved respiratory function and begin breastfeeding sooner and with more success than infants not held skin-to-skin.

One study has shown that, when a mother cannot hold her baby immediately after birth, skin-to-skin contact with the father or another adult offers the same benefits.

Ideally, a baby is kept with his or her parents for the first hour of life. If the birth was uncomplicated, the baby will be quickly cleaned up and given to Mom to hold skin-to-skin for at least that first hour. If you're breastfeeding, the baby will be kept skin-to-skin until he takes his first feeding, which tends to happen naturally when using this method.

Newborns also now routinely sleep in the same room with their mothers, with research showing that moms sleep just as well as they would if the baby was in a nursery. And there are many advantages to rooming in for mother and baby, including bonding, ease of breastfeeding and quick response to the baby's cries.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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