Turns out, the kangaroos have it right. More and more hospitals are encouraging kangaroo care as a way for parents to bond with their newborns and help their bodies adapt to the real world. Originally developed as a solution for high mortality rates for premature babies, the benefits are clear regardless of the health or size of your infant. Big, small, or somewhere in between, kangaroo care is something expectant mothers and fathers should seriously consider.
What Is Kangaroo Care?
Kangaroo care is a bonding method modeled after marsupials that (as your nursery walls could probably tell you) carry their babies in a pouch on their stomachs. Newborn babies are placed on their mother or father’s naked chest to create direct, skin-to-skin contact. Not only does this contact encourage the bond between baby and parent, it has numerous health benefits too.
Benefits of Kangaroo Care
- It regulates infant body temperature. After all, Mom’s body heat is what she’s used to!
- It stabilizes the baby’s heart rate and breathing pattern.
- It promotes weight gain in infants by regulating their body temperature (less lost energy) and increasing breastfeeding rates.
- It makes breastfeeding easier, helping the infant learn more quickly and feed more consistently. It also stimulates milk production by helping to regulate mom’s hormones.
- It stimulates oxytocin and reduces cortisol (the “cuddle” and the “stress” hormones, respectively), making the baby happier and reducing pain for any necessary prenatal tasks like drawing blood.
- It helps babies sleep better.
- It decreases maternal anxiety, and in some cases has been shown to reduce symptoms of postpartum depression.
- It builds a bond. This is especially helpful for fathers, who don’t have the intimacy of breastfeeding to help them bond with their babies. Infants recognize their father’s voices from their time in the womb, and skin-to-skin contact helps to fully establish that bond.
As much as we’d like to, we can’t kangaroo cuddle our infants 24/7. When you’re sleeping, passing the baby around, or just really need a shirt, turn to the BundleBee Baby Wrap for a soft, supportive cradle for your newborn baby.