A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Kangaroo Care Awareness

When my first son, Jack, was born I probably resembled the victim of a bar fight more than a mother. I was not physically or emotionally prepared for the birth and far less for the transition to motherhood. I was scared, scarred, isolated and uninformed. I worked at breastfeeding, but anything else that the nurses brought up I just brushed off. It hurts my mama heart now to think back to how little I knew despite how much I thought I knew. No one told me anything. Topics came up and were quickly dropped. I still wonder why no one pushed certain things with me. One of those topics being skin-to-skin contact.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder breastfeeding son after birth.

I remember one nurse in particular asked me if I wanted to do Skin-to-Skin and I responded with, “nah.” I held my little boy all swaddled in his blanket up to my breast and I thought we were good to go. If I had known that skin-to-skin is far more than just another position to hold my baby I hope that I would have snapped out of my new-mother haze. How did that nurse not want to shake me? “Open your shirt, Abby! This is important!”

Today, May 15th, is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day. I feel the obligation to talk about this as much as I can today so that the new moms out there have the information that I didn’t have. The benefits of skin-to-skin are so much more than bonding or a way to hold your baby. They deliver proven physiologic benefits for both baby AND mom.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder wearing the NuRoo Pocket.

What is Kangaroo Care?

Kangaroo Care is the practice of Skin-to-Skin where baby is wearing only a diaper and positioned vertically on moms bare chest, providing chest to chest contact. Other Skin-to-Skin positions such as breastfeeding positions, cheek to chest or belly to belly do not deliver the same benefits as Kangaroo Care. When positioned properly, a nerve called the c-afferent nerve is stimulated and it sends a message to both your brain and baby’s brain to produce a bunch of hormones. It is the release of these hormones that deliver the benefits associated with Skin-to-Skin. While some benefits like temperature regulation begin nearly immediately, an uninterrupted 60 minutes of continuous skin-to-skin contact is required to receive ALL the benefits associated with the practice.

What are some of the Benefits of Kangaroo Care?

  • The sensory stimulation provided by the mother’s breathing, heart-beat, skin, voice increases brain complexity and accelerates brain development.
  • The release of Oxytocin sooths and calms baby decreasing crying and stress.
  • Your body has the ability to maintain your baby’s temperature and minimize their expenditure of oxygen and energy which leads to better weight gain for baby. Breasts do this by heating up to warm a cool baby and cooling down to cool a warm baby. Interestingly, our breasts have the power to act independent of one another to meet the different needs of twins, too! How amazing is that?!
  • When placed skin-to-skin a baby’s immune system is enhanced, digestion is stimulated and heart rate and breathing are synchronized.
  • Skin-to-Skin encourages breastfeeding behavior and maintains a mother’s milk supply by raising prolactin levels.
  • Other benefits to mom include reducing risk of postpartum depression and speeding recovery time by increasing maternal oxytocin levels. When a mom practices Kangaroo Care she is more relaxed, confident, sensitive, nurturing and affectionate.

nuroo pocket

What are Some Common Misconceptions?

Many people believe that Kangaroo Care is only beneficial to premature babies. This could not be farther from the truth. Although these babies are who it was initially utilized for, the benefits of Kangaroo Care apply to ALL babies.

Kangaroo Care can be done by any human, not just moms. Dads, grandparents, siblings and adoptive parents can all practice Kangaroo Care. This is good news for mom who needs as much support as she can get during the postpartum months.

Kangaroo Care is most commonly practiced during the first few days of life but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers practice skin-to-skin contact as frequently as possible throughout the postpartum period (12 weeks). However, research proves that the benefits never end so whether you’ve just given birth or your baby is a few months old, you haven’t missed the window!

Kangaroo care isn’t just for breastfeeding moms. While the practice supports breastfeeding, as you have read, the benefits go far beyond. All babies, no matter how they are fed, benefit from this Skin-to-Skin practice.

The NuRoo Pocket

A Gift for You

To celebrate this day of awareness we have brought you a giveaway of the NüRoo Pocket, a babywearing shirt that offers full coverage and mobility for moms practicing Skin-to-Skin. Not only does it adhere to the sling carrier standard and doubles as a great newborn carrier, the NuRoo Pocket is a great way to find those uninterrupted 60 minutes of Skin-to-skin time and ensure you and baby get all the benefits of the practice.  Enter here to win! And if you don’t win don’t fret! Use promo code BADASS for 20% off your purchase at nuroobaby.com through the end of May! USA entries only please.

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Comments

  1. I have 2 children one is 24 and other 14…..l found this info to be fairly spot on…the only thing I hesitate on is the family bed. For me we had a hard time getting him to sleep in the crib once we were ready for the transition. Not sure I would do that again but it is a personal decision that shul be left to that family. Great job!

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