Kangaroo Mother Care
There exists an invisible bond between the baby and the mother let it be when the baby is in the womb or when she has the baby in her arms post-birth. A practice to accentuate this bond further is known as Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC).
What is Kangaroo Mother Care?
KMC refers to the practice of providing continuous skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her baby.
Components of KMC
There are three components of kangaroo mother care (KMC):
- Skin to skin.
- Exclusive breastfeeding.
- Supporting both the mother and the baby.
The support can be in any form psychological, mental, emotional, or physical. The practice aims at formulating a standard care protocol for babies both preterm and full-term. The World Health Organization recommends KMC for the routine care of newborns weighing 2000 grams or less at birth.
Kangaroo Mothercare Position
During the KMC care, a premature baby is held in an upright position on her mom’s bare chest encouraging tummy-to-tummy contact as the baby is placed between the mother’s breasts. The baby’s head is adjusted so that he is positioned close to her mother’s heart.
How long should KMC be done?
It is advised to practice Skin-to-Skin for 60 minutes continuously during the first 12 weeks and beyond. KMC immediately after birth is found to be a golden hour for the baby. This is the time when the nursing instinct in the baby leads the way to the early initiation of breastfeeding.
Kangaroo Care Benefits to Babies
- Stabilizes heart rate
- Improves oxygen saturation
- Regulates baby's body temperature
- Gaining weight more quickly
- Boost immunity
- Improved sleep time
- Reduces crying
- Improves cognitive development
Kangaroo Care Benefits to Parents
- Enhances parent-baby bonding
- Reducing the stress levels of mothers
- Lowers neonatal mortality
- Sense of control is enhanced
Research shows that skin-to-skin contact stabilizes heart rate, and respiratory rates, improves oxygen saturation, regulates a neonate’s body temperature, and helps conserve energy for the newborn. Better weight gain, improved immunity, and enhanced motor and cognitive development of the infant are also some important benefits of KMC.
Skin-to-skin can also be practiced with the baby and the father. In the case of cesarean births, the father can practice skin-to-skin contact till the mother recoups.
The benefits of KMC are not only limited to newborns but the parents too derive benefits from it. It promotes bonding between the baby and the parents, enhances parental confidence, and helps to streamline breastfeeding practices. A mother feels more confident to nurture her baby and in turn experiences reduced stress levels.
While Practising Kangaroo Care:
- Don't smoke.
- Keep your phone away.
- Avoid KMC if not feeling well.
- Focus on the baby.
Therefore, KMC is a practice that ensures overall development and cares for the neonate, thereby reducing mortality rates for preterm infants all across.