Kangaroo Mother Care Method: What is it, and what is it for?

One way to bond with our babies is through skin-to-skin contact. In the case of premature babies, the closeness of their parents is essential for their well-being, both physical and emotional. The kangaroo method encourages this contact. We’ll tell you what it is.

Premature newborns are those born before 37 weeks of gestation. They spend their first days in an incubator because they are born with low weight, and their respiratory system is not well developed. It is essential for these little ones to know their parents and feel them.

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What is the Kangaroo Mother Care Method?

It is skin-to-skin contact with his mother or father and consists of holding the baby, dressed only in a diaper, on the bare torso of the parents. It is part of the care that a premature baby should receive and is the most effective way to promote the health of these little ones, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

The kangaroo mother care method was developed in South America, in the late 1970s, as a way to keep premature babies warm and be able to discharge them earlier, as hospitals were overcrowded.

Warmth, exclusive breastfeeding, and the kangaroo position are the basic principles of this method, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The most important thing is the loving and close relationship established with the baby.

“The important and definitive stimulation, both affective and organic, will improve and guarantee the respiratory and cardiac pattern”.

This method allows a better quality of life for these little ones since it strengthens the mother or father and child relationship and provides support and emotional balance.

Moms and dads can do the kangaroo method. Photo: Pixabay
Moms and dads can do the kangaroo method. Photo: Pixabay

How is the kangaroo method done?

  • Sit comfortably: Sit down on a comfortable chair.
  • Quiet environment: Whether in the hospital or at home, find a quiet place with dim lighting and little noise.
  • Kangaroo position: Place the baby, wearing just his diaper, in an upright position, on the bare chest of the mother or father, with the head on one side and the ear close to the parents’ heart. The baby’s arms and legs should be bent and one hand near the mouth.
  • Clothing: It should be elastic to allow you to cover your little one.

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Kangaroo mother care method benefits

The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that this method dramatically improves the health of premature babies; some of its advantages are:

  • It makes it easy for the little ones to get warm.
  • There is more excellent stability in heartbeat and breathing.
  • They spend more time in deep sleep and are calmer when awake.
  • Less crying.
  • Greater weight gain.
  • More breastfeeding.
The kangaroo mother care method has many benefits for the baby and mother. Photo: Shutterstock
The kangaroo mother care method has many benefits for the baby and mother. Photo: Shutterstock

Rodrigo Osegueda Mayén, an expert in pediatrics and neonatology at Hospital Ángeles, comments, “The benefits of this method are for both the parents and the baby. In the mother, it lowers blood pressure and improves her mood; babies’ oxygenation increases and their respiratory rate is of better quality”.

“It is recommended that this method is practiced for about three hours per day while hospitalized. Already at home, as long as possible. Being in contact with her mother’s chest, they smell it, touch it, and can start looking to eat directly from the breast”.

Practice this method with your little one. Enjoy it!

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version

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Newborn: basic care