Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kangaroo Care

I've been wanting to post about Kangaroo Care for a while now and am finally getting to it after speaking with relatives and friends of a few premature babies.

Kangaroo Care, termed by Dr. Nils Bergman of South Africa, is a distincive type of care suggested for all newborns, but especially premies. Kangaroo Care is self-explanatory in the way that kangaroos carry their young in a pouch on their bodies. In this same way, human mothers are to keep their offspring close to their own bodies, specifically utilizing the miraculous benefits of skin to skin contact. For many mothers, this comes as natural intuition, however, such care is not always easy to provide when protocols and interventions take precedence.

How can a mother holding her offspring close to her body aid in the development of a newborn, specifically a premie? Research has long shown that mother's body is the most effective regulator of baby's body temperature (yes, even more so than an incubator) and heartbeat while also decreasing the surgence of the stress hormone that baby experiences when separated from mother. What better environment for baby to grow and thrive than near its mother. One study done on Kangaroo Care, found that premies receiving this kind of care were 5x more likely to survive as compared with premies not receiving this kind of care.

If you think about it in the most fundamental way, the Good Lord designed newborns to be totally dependent on their mother. SHOCKER - this is not a bad thing although our culture totally makes it out to be a terrible thing! God has designed a mother's body so perfectly that she is able to carry her unborn child for 9 months before being able to birth that child and then provide for his nourishment entirely through her milk alone for several months.

Is it any wonder then, that the mother of a premie produces milk that is significantly higher in nutrients and immunities than the mother of a full term baby? Is it any wonder that a mother's first reaction is to go to and comfort her crying baby? Is it any wonder than a mother craves significant skin to skin contact with her little one? Trust your intuitions, trust your insticts, moms, many a time they are Divinely inspired.

For the specifics on how to do Kangaroo Care and the research backing it up, go to Dr. Bergman's website: Keep the website in mind to share with others who experience a premature baby, although such care is really recommended for all newborns.

1 comment:

Regina said...

Great post, Lauren! And it's so funny how our rates of preemie survival (not to mention our full-term babies) are lower than other countries where this type of care is the norm. This is how it's MEANT to be, it's rather sad that most babies are whisked off to a nursery right away when what they need is some skin to skin time with Mom.

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