5 benefits of kangaroo care
The way your baby is welcomed into the world is important, and evidence shows that Kangaroo Care, or immediate skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns after birth, has important benefits to help make a smooth transition.
- Kangaroo Care helps prevent your baby from getting cold in the new environment.
Babies are accustomed to the temperature of the inside of your body. After birth, they have to learn how to adjust to a new, cooler temperature almost immediately. Because your skin is about the same temperature as the womb, skin-to-skin contact prevents your baby from getting cold and eases the transition to their new environment.
- Reduces your baby’s stress
Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to reduce your baby’s level of cortisol, which is a hormone released during stress. Kangaroo Care also increases your baby’s level of oxytocin, which is a hormone that stimulates feelings of being calm or safe.
- Helps make breastfeeding more successful
When babies are born, they have an increased sense of smell. When placed skin-to-skin, the baby will be more likely to sense the nipple and begin breastfeeding. Babies who breastfeed in the first 30 minutes of life are more likely to be successfully breastfeeding six months later.
- Reduces crying and helps your baby sleep
While babies often cry immediately after delivery, separation from the mother can cause excessive crying. Many babies will cease crying as soon as skin-to-skin contact happens. They will feel the familiar sense of safety and protection. With less stress and the feeling of security, your baby will be more likely to sleep soundly.
- Helps your baby’s heart and lung function
As you can imagine, it can be a stressful transition for babies as they take their first breaths outside of the womb. By holding your baby skin-to-skin, he or she can hear and feel your heart and breathing patterns, which will help him or her adapt and mimic the patterns.
Are you expecting soon or planning to have a baby? Advocate Christ Medical Center has a brand-new birthing center with private birthing suites. Find out more information and take a virtual tour here.
About the Author
Jamie Bonnema, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She earned her BA in communications from DePaul University in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.