Are you feeling helpless when it comes to helping your baby develop?
Touch is the foundation to infant development, and Nebraska Medicine's team of nurses can help you find ways to contribute to your babies health and wellness.
Kangaroo Care, which is skin-to-skin contact between infants and their parents, was first practiced in Bogota, Columbia in 1979. Originally used in developing countries where a lack of equipment and supplies added to challenges with poor nutrition and high infection rates, kangaroo care is now used for premature infants and baby's hospitalized for other health concerns.
Kangaroo Care helps the infant identify their parents by voice, style of handling, scent, and by the love only a parent can provide. If you have chosen to breastfeed, kangaroo care provides you with early transition to breastfeeding. The skin to skin contact is an important emotional stimulus that can improve milk production while you're pumping breast milk. It also promotes neuro-development.
Both mothers and fathers can participate, and will work closely with their baby's NICU nurse. With guidance, you will lift your baby (wearing only a diaper) to your bare chest. The warmth of the parent's chest, a hat on the infant's head and a warmed blanket over his/her back, provides adequate heat.
Your decision for or against participation in kangaroo care will not affect your ability to interact with your infant. You will still be offered opportunities to hold and nurture your baby as soon as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to discuss them with your baby's nurse.