Kangaroo mother care (KMC) isn’t just for marsupials! It is a way of caring for newborn babies that is increasingly supported by research for both full-term and premature babies.
When my nephew was born (at full term) he had a hard time maintaining his body temperature. His parents were worried that he would have to stay in the hospital longer than they had planned. They were lucky to have a doula that had heard of KMC. With her encouragement, they decided to try it. He stabilized, nursed well, and came home that day.
KMC consists of three things:
- The baby is positioned upright, skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest.
- Exclusive breastfeeding.
- No or minimal separation of mother and baby — any needed care is done with mother and baby remaining in contact.
Studies have found that KMC has many benefits including
- increased rates of breastfeeding initiation, exclusive breastfeeding, and breastfeeding duration
- more positive feelings of mothers towards their babies
- babies have more stable heart rates, better oxygenation, better body temperature stability, and fewer signs of stress
- mothers can pump more milk even if baby can’t breastfeed yet
- mothers feel like they have an important role in taking care of their babies
When babies can stay in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers they feel more secure. KMC is an easy way for parents to help their babies adapt to life after birth.
To read more about KMC, you can visit www.kangaroomothercare.com.