kangarooing a baby – The Best Thing For Your Preemie
So, what is kangarooing a baby? or what is kangaroo mother care? Let’s describe-
Kangarooing a baby or Kangaroo care, also known as “skin-to-skin” is where you place your naked baby on your bare chest, usually tucked into your shirt. Your body heat helps regulate your preemie’s temperature outside of the isolate.
In South America, where they didn’t have the technology to properly care for premature infants, they resorted to having the mothers hold their babies in this manner and saw positive effects on the babies.
Think about it: a premature baby belongs with his/her mother. They’re supposed to be tucked inside of you swimming in warm fluids, protected deep in your womb.
Suddenly, for whatever circumstance, they are ejected into the cold, loud, harsh world, and some of these babies will never regain the warmth and protection they felt inside of their mommies.
Kangarooing a baby method is also great for the mom. Speaking from personal experience, it is the best therapy for you when you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, mad, hurt, lonely, empty, and the other range of emotions when you have a premature baby.
One important aspect is that when the mother or the infant becomes ill or requires additional treatment after childbirth, it is important to keep them together.
Separating an infant from its mother has been shown to decrease its ability to thrive.
While wrapped to her chest, the infant is transported back to a womb-like environment that is comfortable and familiar.
There is a drastic reduction in stress, in both the mother and the newborn when they are kept together. Stress can be an inhibiting factor in the recovery of almost any ailment.
By treating the two parts as a whole being, practitioners have been able to facilitate successful recoveries.
These simple steps are making drastic changes in infant mortality rates across the globe. Kangaroo mother care’s success stems from its cost-effectiveness and its simplistic and natural approach to solving a very troublesome problem.
In areas like Malawi, they experience a 20% infant mortality rate due to a lack of available resources to manage childbirth successfully.
Now, they are seeing results as kangaroo mother care becomes accepted as a postpartum care practice.
As more expecting mothers learn this instinctual form of parenting, we can expect a continued decrease in newborn death.
– helps regulate baby’s body temperature
– stabilize the baby’s heart rate
– improved oxygen saturation levels and breathing patterns
– helps to breastfeed efforts
– baby sleeps really well on mommy (and therefore grows, since they grow while they are sleeping)
– baby stays calm and doesn’t cry as much with mommy. This helps them preserve their energy and prevent burning calories, meaning more rapid weight gain
– can help the baby get discharged sooner
Kangarooing a baby or Mother Care – A History of Healing
In 1979, in the highly populated city of Bogota, Columbia, doctors were faced with an unnerving predicament.
They were experiencing a shortage of incubators at the city’s hospital, and a serious infection was spreading among the patients.
The doctors had to find a solution to keep the preterm babies warm and protect them from contracting an infection.
Thinking of how kangaroos keep their newborns in their pouches, the doctors devised a plan to use the mothers’ bodies as incubators.
As they had hoped, the newborns were kept safe and warm while wrapped against the skin of the mother.
Kangaroo mother care was developed as a solution to a challenging situation and has been studied and found to be an effective method in caring for preterm infants at home.
In the early 1980s, UNICEF noticed what the doctors in Bogota were doing, and took note of the benefits of KMC.
By wrapping the newborn baby against the mother’s chest in a sling, the baby is kept warm and has adequate access to the breast for feeding.
One of UNICEF’s missions in the early 1980s was to promote exclusive breastfeeding for infant health and to discourage the marketing of breast milk substitutes.
The kangaroo mother care protocol promotes a very healthy and protected environment for preterm babies and encourages exclusive breastfeeding.
In an effort to educate the communities throughout South America, UNICEF published a booklet, in Spanish, on kangaroo mother care or we can say Kangarooing a baby.
It became more apparent, through widespread use in the region, that this form of parenting was highly effective in creating a viable living environment for the newborn baby.
The endorsement by UNICEF set the stage for the growth and development of the concept of KMC. The research and practice of this method of newborn baby care spread throughout Europe and North America and was implemented throughout communities in Africa and the Middle East.
Medical researchers began to look deeper into the reasons why this care worked, and how this form of early parenting may be the root of successful mother care through the centuries in more primitive societies.
In 1991, the first research review on KMC was published by Dr. Gene Cranston Anderson, a doctor in research nursing. The publication confirmed the usefulness of kangaroo mother care in the development of preterm infants and in increasing the bond between mother and child.
Since 1990, kangaroo mother care has become a widespread practice among all classes and societies throughout the world.
In tribal villages, kangaroo mother care ensures the viability of preterm infants where advanced technologies are not readily available.
In more advanced societies, kangaroo mother care is accepted as a best practice in caring for newborns and developing the child maternal bond.
Additionally, the method allows preterm babies to leave the hospital, under the guidance of a physician, with the mother long before it was possible in the past.
This natural approach to incubating newborns is an effective and cost-efficient way to provide a nurturing environment for growth and development.
Even today, there is still ongoing research into the effectiveness and possible applications for kangaroo mother care.
Kangarooing a baby: KMC Leads To Trust and Development Through Touch
Over time a number of approaches have been put forward to Moms and Dads about how to get their baby to sleep.
This has included a method known as “Ferberizing,” in which babies are left alone to cry for increasing periods. This is also known as “controlled crying”.
Such methods suggest shutting baby’s in their cribs/cots for prolonged periods so that they learn to go to sleep alone.
This is in complete contrast to Kangaroo Mother Care through which a baby is nurtured, loved, and made to feel safe and secure so that they fall into a loving and peaceful sleep.
Telling you as a Mom or Dad to ignore the cries of your baby, for however long does not produce a loving and trustful parent-child relationship and it certainly doesn’t encourage bonding.
How many of us would want to be treated in this way and how does it help us feel good about hearing our baby’s distressed cry.
It can’t be good for either us or our babies and it doesn’t provide the soothing touch and trusting environment that Kangaroo Mother Care does.
So tip 1:
Don’t leave your baby to cry alone – provide them with KMC and nurture them
Since ancient tribal times, our babies have needed constant care and attention because of their dependence on us.
Unlike other mammals, they cannot keep themselves warm, move about, or feed themselves until they are much older.
This makes the mother/father-infant relationship crucial to their survival. Innately we were designed for this and our babies have been born with behaviors to ensure that they get the special care they need.
Just think about the way a newborn baby, when given skin to skin contact and Kangaroo Mother Care at birth will find his/her Mothers breast and self latch.
This is nature’s design for us and our newborns – Kangaroo Mother Care.
So tip 2:
Give your baby what you were designed to do. For a baby, the safest place is with their Mother or Father.
Being with your baby and providing Kangaroo Mother Care gives your baby a sense of protection can ensure temperature regulation in preemie baby’s, emotional reassurance and allows them to self latch and breastfeed based upon need. It’s a perfect system, and what babies are born needing and wanting.
So tip 3:
Keep your baby safe “on you” with KMC
As a Mom or Dad when you do KMC with your baby you also get benefits and feel more relaxed and at ease.
Did you know that co-sleeping and providing Kangaroo Mother Care gives you less disturbed sleep because you and your baby get into the same sleep cycle?
Also, your baby will wake to feed when you are both in a light sleep. We can do more breastfeeding for less effort and with more ease.
So tip 4:
Do KMC and co-sleep with your baby to get better and more sleep
As a Mom, you will also benefit from the increased levels of two breastfeeding hormones oxytocin and endorphins.
Oxytocin is known as the love hormone and is stimulated by both breastfeeding and the skin-to-skin contact of KMC.
Endorphins are known as the pleasure hormones making the trusting bond between you and your baby stronger and nurturing.
So tip 5:
Do KMC with your baby to help develop the loving bond and contentment between you and your baby.
Research shows that co-sleeping with your baby is safe. The only contradictions to co-sleeping are being smoking, overweight, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
It’s all about providing a safe and caring environment for you and your baby.
Research also shows that promotion and supporting your baby’s dependence on you leads to independence more readily, because your baby will feel safer.
You actually promote trust and emotional stability in your baby by being lovingly responsive to their needs.
So when you do Kangaroo Medical care with your baby, giving them love you are planting the seeds for a lifetime of peace and joy.
So tip 6:
Co- sleep and KMC your baby to help them develop in a way that encourages them to grow and explore.
Kangaroo Mother Care: What Does Science Say?
Scientific studies have proven that babies are prompted to believe that they are still in the womb for the warmth and closeness provided via this technique tantamount to the environment in the uterus.
This reduces the stress levels, which in turn promotes the growth of the baby.
On a similar note, when the baby is placed on the chest of his mother, the mother’s breasts respond automatically to the temperature requirements of the baby.
When the baby’s body temperature is dropping, the breasts begin to exude an increased amount of heat to ensure the infant is able to maintain optimal bodily temperature.
This thermal synchronization works the other way round as well, reducing the amount of heat exuded when a baby exhibits rising temperatures.
The Kangaroo Mother Care technique also carries ample advantages to boost the immune system of the developing baby.
Prior to studies on Kangaroo Mother Care, it was widely accepted that the mother’s touch encourages healing and strengthens the immune system of the infant.
Under this treatment method, skin contact is amplified significantly. As a result of increased intimacy, the baby’s breathing and heartbeat also become stronger, due to synchronization with the mother’s own respiratory and cardio functions.
The result of this method is a healthier and more confident infant and it does not necessarily need to apply only to premature infants.
Kangaroo Mother Care is a widely accepted method of improving the survival rates of infants who are born before term.
Most parents and sometimes even healthcare systems in countries are unable to support the increased expenses related to incubators and other medical requirements.
Kangaroo Mother Care is deemed to be a highly successful means to improve infant mortality rates, not only for patients in developing countries but urban cities and developed countries as well.
There are numerous benefits to using this natural procedure.
First, by impairing the release of cortisol in the newborn, the resulting development reaches par with infants delivered after their full term in terms of height, weight and, motor and cognitive skills by the first year after birth.
This is achieved by the stabilization of vital signs including heartbeat rate and breathing frequency. The ample flow of oxygen and blood to the brain accelerates progress and results in a healthier child.
Also, because babies who are given Kangaroo Mother Care sleep more soundly, more shut-eye means faster growth of the preterm.
The ultimate result of all these benefits is lower medical costs in the future, as compared to a typical preemie that has been incubated.
Vital sign strengthening occurs because of the close contact between parent and child. The preemie when placed on the chest of his/her caregiver as recommended by Kangaroo Mother Care, can feel the heartbeat and the rhythm of the breathing of his guardian and attempts to mimic the same, thus falling into synchronization.
This preserves the much-needed energy towards the growth of underdeveloped systems and organs in the premature baby.
It has also been observed that when this procedure is practiced by birth mothers, in particular, milk is more abundantly produced in the breasts.
Studies have confined the reason for this to the instinctual readiness to feed the child which encourages milk production.
Thus lactation lasts longer than usual, which results in the baby enjoying quality nourishment for a longer than average period.
Women who suffer from low production of milk are also advised to use Kangaroo Mother Care to stimulate lactation.
There are several global health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF that encourage the use of the Kangaroo Mother Care method to save lives.
The Bottom Line
Your baby will outgrow their dependency on you over time, they will explore and venture further knowing that you are nearby and they are safe. It is though the giving of KMC to your baby that this sense of safety to explore will be developed over time.
As a Mom or Dad, your job is to provide the love, nurturing, and closeness that will make them feel secure and safe.
Don’t ignore your baby’s cry, they are only just that; a baby that is born needing your loving protection and Kangaroo Mothering Care.
As a Mom or Dad pick him/her up and give them KMC cuddles. Babies weren’t designed to cry alone and we weren’t designed to let our baby’s cry. Give and treat your baby to loving Kangarooing a baby cuddles when they need them, day or night. It will work wonders for you too!!