Author Topic: Kangaroo care  (Read 2940 times)

Offline Artos

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Kangaroo care
« on: December 14, 2010, 05:28:50 PM »
Something to think about if your dealing with a premie without modern medical care.

December 14, 2010
Kangaroo Care - Taking Attachment all the way
What started as a desperate move in the less developed world is now gaining traction everywhere. There is no better incubator than mum and no better way to gain attachment by mum too.

Another step in low tech high gain health care!

Amplify’d from

Bullit Marquez/Associated PressA mother in the Philippines used the warmth of her body to nurture her prematurely born daughter.
Sometimes, the best way to progress isn’t to advance — to step up with more money, more technology, more modernity. It’s to retreat.


Rey thought about the basics. What is the purpose of an incubator? It is to keep a baby warm, oxygenated and nourished — to simulate as closely as possible the conditions of the womb. There is another mechanism for accomplishing these goals, Rey reasoned, the same one that cared for the baby during its months of gestation. Rey also felt, something that probably all mothers feel intuitively: that one reason babies in incubators did so poorly was that they were separated from their mothers. Was there a way to avoid the incubator by employing the baby’s mother instead?

What he came up with is an idea now known as kangaroo care. Aspects of kangaroo care are now in use even in wealthy countries — most hospitals in the United States, for example, have adopted some kangaroo care practices. But its real impact has been felt in poor countries, where it has saved countless preemies’ lives and helped others to survive with fewer problems.

In Rey’s system, a mother of a preemie puts the baby on her exposed chest, dressed only in a diaper and sometimes a cap, in an upright or semi-upright position. The baby is strapped in by a scarf or other cloth sling supporting its bottom, and all but its head is covered by mom’s shirt. The mother keeps the baby like that, skin-to-skin, as much as possible, even sleeping in a reclining chair. Fathers and other relatives or friends can wear the baby as well to give the mother a break. Even very premature infants can go home with their families (with regular follow-up visits) once they are stable and their mothers are given training.

The babies stay warm, their own temperature regulated by the sympathetic biological responses that occur when mother and infant are in close physical contact. The mother’s breasts, in fact, heat up or cool down depending on what the baby needs. The upright position helps prevent reflux and apnea. Feeling the mother’s breathing and heartbeat helps the babies to stabilize their own heart and respiratory rates. They sleep more. They can breastfeed at will, and the constant contact encourages the mother to produce more milk. Babies breastfeed earlier and gain more weight.

The physical closeness encourages emotional closeness, which leads to lower rates of abandonment of premature infants. This was a serious problem among the patients of Rey’s hospital; without being able to hold and bond with their babies, some mothers had little attachment to counter their feelings of being overwhelmed with the burdens of having a preemie. But kangaroo care also had enormous benefits for parents. Every parent, I think, can understand the importance of holding a baby instead of gazing at him in an incubator. With kangaroo care, parents and baby go through less stress. Nurses who practice kangaroo care also report that mothers also feel more confident and effective because they are the heroes in their babies’ care, instead of passive bystanders watching a mysterious process from a distance.


Offline smajda

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Re: Kangaroo care
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2010, 06:13:09 PM »
Fascinating article! Thanks for sharing


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Re: Kangaroo care
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 09:20:01 PM »
Kangaroo care is standard procedure in most places in the US for to-term babies. But, unfortunately, they still whisk away the little ones who need Momma the most. When I couldn't hold our babies after birth, my husband got to do the kangaroo care :D

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Kangaroo care
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2010, 09:36:05 PM »
yeah, I heard about this when we were planning for an unmedicated first birth.  We were at the hospital, and he had some fluid in his lungs (I am pretty sure that was because the midwife didn't wait for the natural Heimlich to happen as he was pushed out, she "helped" by pulling him) and had to go to NICU.  He didn't like it there, and kicked his IV out, at which point our dr told them that we can try keeping him with us.  We were lucky in our choice of pediatricians; and we never had another hospital birth.....

Offline ChEng

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Re: Kangaroo care
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 08:13:51 PM »
This is great.  I was thinking that this should be in the book Where There Is No Doctor (  When I looked to see what they have for preemies, I found the subject "Kangarooing" (page 405).

Great stuff to keep in the back of the mind for post-SHTF medical care.

Actually, this will also help full-term babies to get off to a better start (just not as critical as for preemies.)

When my kids were very small, and we were out in the cold weather, I would do something like this.  I would unzip my jacket and stuff the kid in there and zip the jacket back up behind the baby.  Our body heat would compliment each other, and both of us would feel nice and warm.  Every time, the baby would fall asleep pretty quickly.