Posts Tagged ‘kangaroo care’

The many benefits of kangaroo care

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

kangaroo-care-dadIf your baby is in the NICU, kangaroo care can seem like a life saver. Kangaroo care is a way to hold your baby so that there is as much skin contact between you and your baby as possible. It has wonderful benefits for both you and your baby.

For kangaroo care, your baby is placed upright on your bare chest.
• Ask the nurse for a warm blanket to cover you and your baby.
• Strong smells like perfume or cigarette smoke on you or your clothing can bother your baby, so be sure to wash before holding.
• Hold your baby for at least an hour in this position. Be sure to go to the bathroom and put your phone away before getting comfortable. Your baby needs your full attention.

Gentle, still touch is very important, especially for the most sick and fragile of babies. It might make you feel good to stroke your baby, but it doesn’t feel good to your baby in the NICU. Stroking can make a baby feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Touching without moving your hands is best.

Kangaroo care is good for your baby because it can:
• Keep your baby warm
• Stabilize your baby’s heart rate
• Help your baby gain weight
• Comfort your baby

It’s good for Mom and Dad too because:
• It can help you bond with your baby.
• It can stimulate a mother’s ability to make breast milk.
• It can reduce your stress and lift your spirits.
• It may help you become more confident parents.

Kangaroo care is safe and beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines. Whatever your situation, kangaroo care is a precious way to be close to your baby. You will cherish this time. You can learn more about kangaroo care by looking at our Power Point presentation at this link.

The March of Dimes gratefully acknowledges Philips’ support of our NICU Family Support® and Close to MeSM programs

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Rescuing preemies

Monday, November 5th, 2012

tiny-handBlessings to all the courageous men and women who rescued delicate premature babies from a failing neonatal ICU during the devastating throws of hurricane Sandy.

In a normal NICU hospital setting, highly trained doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals monitor a baby’s every breath. These fragile beings are totally dependent on all of us for regulating their breathing, body heat, heart rate, and nutrition and it can be a tricky balancing act in the best of times. Here is a link to just some of the many things related to life in the NICU.    How frightening it must have been for everyone to see the mechanical systems failing. That’s where the trained and compassionate medical personnel really shone.

It took multiple people to transfer the isolettes, oxygen, monitors. They needed to be carried down multiple flights of stairs, into the stormy night to waiting ambulances to carrying them to safety. Some babies were tucked skin-to-skin against a nurses warm body (kangaroo care) to keep them warm. Can you imagine being the parent of one of these fragile babies?

If you or a friend or family member experienced the added anxiety of having a baby in a NICU during last week’s storm, or in the power outages that have followed, please feel free to share your story with us and others. How are you coping? What would you like to hear from others and what suggestions do you have?

Please remember that November is Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17th is World Prematurity Day.   Please join the March of Dimes in our efforts to spread the word about the seriousness of premature birth. And don’t forget to thank the docs and nurses you meet for their amazing and caring work.

Global relay chat on preterm birth

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

kangaroo-care-11Join the March of Dimes on Twitter Thursday, May 3rd at 1 pm EDT in a #borntoosoon global relay twitterchat.  We will be discussing the “Born Too Soon: Global Report on Preterm Birth,” which will be released on May 2, and interventions such as kangaroo care and steroid injections. During the chat, tell your story to make sure family voices are heard along with the experts. 

The global relay will begin on Twitter at 9am EDT and continue until 4pm EDT.  Follow #borntoosoon on May 3rd at 1pm EDT for the March of Dimes-hosted hour.  We will be tweeting from @marchofdimes and @nacersano.  

The global relay chat is led by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), Save the Children, the United Nations Foundation (UNF), March of Dimes, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) and the Healthy Newborn Network (HNN).  This chat will bring together experts, professionals, advocates and parents in a conversation around preterm birth. 

Releasing on May 2, the “Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth” features the first-ever estimates of preterm birth rates by country. The #borntoosoon global relay twitterchat will discuss the latest numbers, commitments and way forward.   Help to raise awareness about preterm birth in the United States and around the world.  Join us and follow #borntoosoon to learn more.

Holding your baby in the NICU

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

kangaroo careSome newborn intensive care units (NICUs) will encourage you to hold your baby from birth onward. Other NICUs will want you to wait until your baby’s health is stable. Ask your NICU staff about its policy on kangaroo care.

Kangaroo care is the practice of holding your diapered baby on your bare chest (if you’re the father) or between your breasts (if you’re the mother), with a blanket draped over your baby’s back. This skin-to-skin contact benefits both you and your baby.

You may be a little nervous about trying kangaroo care. If your baby is very small or sick, you may be afraid you’ll hurt him. But you won’t. Your baby knows your scent, touch and the rhythms of your speech and breathing, and he will enjoy feeling that closeness with you. Kangaroo care can help your baby:
• Maintain his body warmth
• Regulate his heart and breathing rates
• Gain weight
• Spend more time in deep sleep
• Spend more time being quiet and alert and less time crying
• Have a better chance of successful breastfeeding (kangaroo care can improve the mother’s breastmilk production)

Kangaroo care has emotional benefits for you, too. It builds your confidence as you provide intimate care that can improve your baby’s health and well being. You are giving something special to your baby that only you can give. By holding your baby skin-to-skin, you will feel the experience of new parenthood and closeness to your baby. Kangaroo care is healing in many ways, for both you and your baby.

Kangaroo care is safe and beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines. Whatever your situation, kangaroo care is a precious way to be close to your baby. You will cherish this time.

Kangaroo care in the NICU

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

kangaroocareFor most parents, one of the greatest joys is holding their newborn baby.  Full-term infants spend hours close to their parents’ bodies—feeding, sleeping, snuggling.  However, for premature babies, that isn’t the case.  When a premature baby is born they are frequently whisked off to the NICU where they are immediately hooked up to monitors, tubes, and then placed in an incubator.     

Kangaroo care is the practice of hoding your naked preemie (dressed in just a diaper) on your bare chest (if you’re the father) or between your breasts (if you’re the mother), with a blanket draped over your baby’s back.  This skin-to-skin contact is beneficial for both you and your baby.  Studies have shown that preemies who experience kangaroo care maintain their body temperature as well as, or better than in an incubator.  They cry less, experience less apnea, have higher levels of oxygen saturation, and have more restful sleep periods.  Basically, skin-to-skin holding can simply make a preemie happier. 

For the parents, there are many benefits too.  It builds confidence as you provide intimate care that can improve your baby’s health and well being. You are giving something special to your baby that only you can give.  By holding your baby skin-to-skin, you will feel the experience of new parenthood and closeness to your baby.  Many parents say kangaroo care allows them to be with their baby the way nature intended.  

Ask your NICU staff about its policy on kangaroo care.  Some NICUs postpone kangaroo care until the infant is medically stable, while others use it from birth onward.  Kangaroo care is safe and beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines, so don’t let all the wires and tubes intimidate you.

Kangaroo care is healing in many ways, for both you and your baby.  And there is nothing more satisfying than taking your preemie from her solitary isolette, placing her on your warm chest, and falling asleep together in peace and contentment.  If you had a premature baby, what was your experience with kangaroo care?  How did you feel afterwards?