Guest Post by Neve Spicer of We The Parents.
May 15th is a day devoted to celebrating Kangaroo Mother Care, a bonding-focused method of infant care which prioritizes skin-to-skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding, and early hospital release. Using KMC provides numerous benefits to all infants, but is especially adept at speeding the stabilization of premature babies, and has become a commonly used, inexpensive method of aiding their care in hospitals and homes around the world.
One clinical study performed in 2004 by Dr. Nils Birgren wonderfully illustrates the important role of KMC in preterm infant care. When beginning skin-to-skin contact at birth, all premature infants in one assessed group had stabilized vital signs within six hours. Of other babies in the study, who were instead placed in an incubator, only half stabilized within the same period of time.
When thinking of the term Kangaroo Mother Care, that same skin-to-skin contact may be the first thing that comes to mind. It plays a huge role in the benefits of KMC, but there are some stipulations to its effectiveness. In order to provide ideal KMC, baby should be skin-to-skin with a parent as often as possible, with wearing around the clock being the ideal circumstance. The skin-to-skin description of the carry is also literal, which means that baby’s skin should be flush against their parent’s skin with no clothing in between.
During this contact, baby’s sensory nervous pathways connect with those of their parents, creating a feeling of closeness and safety that steadies their breathing and heart rate. The position also makes breastfeeding more intuitive by placing baby in a position that allows them to naturally latch when they are ready. Keeping baby close in this way mitigates separation stress and its impact on their developing body. It also helps them to feel more bonded to parents, and has a generally positive impact on their emotional and social development.
Keeping baby close through babywearing has many benefits to offer your little one, and We The Parents have compiled an educational and enlightening infographic detailing 23 science-backed ways in which wearing baby positively impacts both parents and children — check it out below or visit: wetheparents.org/babywearing-benefits-evidence
Author: Renee Corbino
Renee keeps Balanced Birth Support organized and amazing as the Administrative Manager. She lives in Northern Virginia with her awesome fire fighting husband and two cute little boys. She is a breech birthing mama and supporter of empowering births.