Kangaroo Care

Picture a kangaroo holding her baby in her pouch, hidden from view and sharing full-body contact and warmth. In humans, this type of intimate, skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby has been shown to have significant physical and emotional benefits for both parent and child.

Kangaroo care is a way of cuddling with your baby so that your bare skin is touching your baby’s skin. By holding your baby against your bare chest under your shirt or hospital gown, or covered by a blanket, you create a “pouch” much like a mother kangaroo’s. Together, you enjoy quiet, restful time with each other.

Benefits of kangaroo care

Kangaroo care began as a way to help babies born prematurely become stronger and healthier, and research has proven that full-term babies also benefit from kangaroo care in a number of ways:

  • Stabilization of the baby's heart rate and breathing
  • Better use of oxygen
  • Decreased crying
  • Improved sleep time
  • Faster weight gain

At Mercy, we encourage mothers (and fathers) to provide several hours of kangaroo care to their babies every day. Your midwife or nurse will be happy to show you how to position your baby so that both of you get the most from this loving, comforting practice.

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