Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) is when your baby is placed next to your skin on the chest.
There are benefits for both you and your baby :
- It helps to calm your baby by releasing oxytocin
- Regulates heart rate and breathing
- Encourages deeper sleep which improves
- Helps establish the parent/baby bonding process
- Helps stimulate breast milk production
- Maintains your baby’s body temperature
- Conserves your baby’s energy
- Improves neuro-behavioural responses
- Helps build a sense of wellbeing and self confidence for you
- Boosts brain and physical development
- Lessens the symptoms of maternal anxiety and Post Natal Depression
- Reduces pain sensations during medical procedures
- Develops a stronger immune system
- Lowers the risk of infection
suitable time to do KMC with your baby’s medical team ie when the baby is already out of the incubator for weighing or due a feed. KMC is generally not initiated after a feed as delicate infants may be uncomfortable being moved on a full stomach. Your baby can be fed during KMC. Generally your baby is naked apart from wearing a nappy and is placed on your chest inside your clothes. The medical team will facilitate the transfer of your baby from the incubator onto your chest and will check his/her position. Ensure that your baby’s head is supported adequately and where necessary a little hat may be placed on his/her head to keep him/her warm. Your baby’s medical team will help you manage the wires and tubes. If you feel anxious and worried about doing KMC, mention your concerns to the medical team and ask them to support you during the first few occasions until you gain confidence.
Kangaroo Care is possible even when your baby requires additional breathing assistance. I remember vividly the first time that I got to KMC Amelia. She was 4 weeks old, still ventilated and up to that moment the only contact we had with her was containment holding and talking to her. I was totally unprepared (no camera, wrong clothing ) but I couldn’t be restrained when the opportunity arose. Finally, I was getting to meet my little girl who was surprising us with her fight to survive. I believe that holding Amelia was truly the beginning of my journey towards recovering from the trauma of her premature birth.
There may be situations where KMC is not possible:
- If your baby requires high humidity.
- If your baby has umbilical IV lines in situ.
- If your baby is receiving phototherapy.