Kangaroo Care

Launched in January 2012, kangaroo care has changed the way mothers and babies bond; it is a practice in which the baby is held in a special way directly on the mother’s chest, skin-to-skin, and the results have been tremendous.

The process is very natural and instinctive. Immediately following birth, your baby is placed on warm blankets on your abdomen and quickly dried. After a quick diapering and getting a new hat, your newborn is immediately placed on your bare chest, hearing your heartbeat and your voice, and feeling your touch. Then, you are both wrapped in warm blankets and allowed to bond, skin-to-skin, for at least an hour or two. This is called “kangarooing.”

We encourage you to keep your baby in kangaroo care for one to two hours after delivery so that he or she can get that important first feeding, stay warm, and get to know you. Sometimes, however, there are medical reasons that keep you from holding your baby kangaroo-style right after birth. If this is the case, kangaroo care will start as soon as you are able. We are committed to providing all of our maternity patients an excellent birth experience.

Medical Benefits
As evidence-based care, kangaroo care has medical science behind it:
  • Your body will automatically warm your baby, which helps regulate your baby’s heart rate, body temperature, and breathing.
  • Babies who receive kangaroo care cry less and sleep more. 
  • Studies have also shown that kangaroo care helps with brain development and better sleep patterns.

Breastfeeding and Kangaroo Care
Breast milk helps a baby’s immune system; babies who are breastfed have fewer illnesses and less chance of developing diabetes, respiratory infections, and allergies. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, too.

About 73 percent of babies born at T.J. Samson during June 2012 initiated breastfeeding, a dramatic increase from previous initiation rates of about 50 percent. Considering that Kentucky remains below the national average for breastfeeding (59 percent, compared to the national rate of about 75 percent), this is encouraging news. Because kangaroo care encourages a baby’s natural response, this jump is likely due to the fact that mothers who otherwise did not intend to breastfeed allowed their babies to do what comes natural. The bonding time made it easier for the baby’s first feeding and gave the mother confidence to continue.

Kangaroo care is a good practice during your hospital stay and when you get home—to savor those precious moments and bond with a brand-new life.