When it comes to parenting in the animal world, the kangaroos are the masters. Nature has given them a pouch in their body in which their babies or 'joeys' spend their time being nurtured and cared for. It is safe and secure for the joeys in their mothers' belly pouch. They are carried hands free everywhere and the pouches even have teats that provide the joeys with milk when hungry. Can we, humans, learn something from this amazing animal?
While it is simply not possible for us humans to grow a pouch, we still can give our babies the immense benefits that come with constant human contact. This is especially true in the case of babies that are prematurely born and have low weights.
The technique or the parenting style where the baby is given a lot of skin-to-skin contact by holding it close is known as kangaroo care.
Hare are the 9 Things to know about Kangaroo Care
- Regulation Of The Temperature
- Kangaroo Care Helps To Normalize The Functions Of The Body
- Improved Immunity
- Increase In Weight
- Less Expenditure For Health Care
- The Bonding Between The Parents And The Baby
- The Dad And Kangaroo Care
- Helps In Exclusively Breast Feeding The Baby For The First Six Months
- Good For The Parent's Relationship
But how exactly does kangaroo care help nurture your baby? Today, we shall talk all about kangaroo care and learn the benefits of the same. Read on to know more.
• Regulation Of The Temperature
When a baby is born, it shall not be able to regulate its own temperature very effectively. This is truer when the cases of pre-term babies and low-weight babies are concerned. Skin to skin contact or kangaroo care ensures that your body temperature helps in keeping the baby's temperature at a healthy level. It works like the incubator used by the hospitals.
• Kangaroo Care Helps To Normalize The Functions Of The Body
When a baby is born premature, the functions of the body are not really well established. They may be prone to conditions like hypotension, respiratory stress syndrome, patent ductus arteriosus and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
It is noted that when the caregivers provide kangaroo care to the preemie, the functions of the body are improved and such conditions can be avoided. The baby who receives kangaroo care finds his heart rate, breathing and rhythms of the heart stabilized. These babies are seen to recover from illnesses of cardiovascular and respiratory nature faster than a baby who was not provided with kangaroo care.
• Improved Immunity
It was thought that the babies who were prematurely born were supposed to be confined to the incubators until they are ready to face the world. This was to prevent exposure to bacteria and other germs that could cause infections. But studies have found that by practicing kangaroo care, you put the baby into contact with the mother's germs.
It makes sure that the immune system of the baby becomes stronger very fast. The antibodies received from breastfeeding and as a result of the bacteria on the mother's skin will help in the maturation of the baby's immunity.
But it is also important to remember that it is not good to cuddle your premature baby when you are down with a cold or any other contagious disease.
• Increase In Weight
Low-weight babies are usually only discharged from the hospital if the doctor feels that the baby is healthy enough and if he is gaining enough weight at a good pace. The babies who receive kangaroo care tend to gain weight much rapidly and are discharged from the hospital earlier as compared to the babies who do not receive it.
This might be because the skin-to-skin contact encourages the baby to feed more at the mother's breasts.
• Less Expenditure For Health Care
It is seen that when you give birth prematurely or have a low birth weight baby, you also incur an excess of spending. This might be because of the incubator and other drugs prescribed. When a baby is given kangaroo care, the baby is seen to be much healthier and with better immunities.
When they are discharged earlier than expected, you will need to spend less. In the long run too, preemies who do not receive kangaroo care tend to get sick frequently. With kangaroo care, the babies get sick much less leading to less expense in the long run too.
• The Bonding Between The Parents And The Baby
Holding a baby is a special sensation to any parent. But giving kangaroo care where you have skin to skin contact with your baby, you bond with him on a very primal level. The feeling of the bond is much greater than what you could have had with an intense two-way conversation.
The mother feels comfortable and takes in the scent of the baby. This helps to increase breast milk production. It also reduces the chances of postpartum depression. If the father is the one giving kangaroo care, he too bonds with the baby in a way he wouldn't have otherwise. The baby too feels safe and secure in addition to the other numerous benefits kangaroo care provides.
• The Dad And Kangaroo Care
Dads are normally burdened with the duties of running the household. This means that most dads never get the chance to get emotionally attached to their baby. Kangaroo care for even a few minutes helps dads to bond with their baby emotionally and actually feel like they are caregivers and not just providers. The dad can try giving the baby some bottled breast milk when mom has to rest to make sure that he too is involved in the nourishment of the baby.
• Helps In Exclusively Breast Feeding The Baby For The First Six Months
The skin-to-skin touch that comes with kangaroo care helps in the release of oxytocin hormone. This helps in the production of ample amounts of breast milk. The constant contact makes the baby want to nurse more too. Babies who are given kangaroo care tend to have more chances of being exclusively breast fed when compared to the babies that don't.
• Good For The Parent's Relationship
It is not just the baby that reaps the benefits of kangaroo care. The first year of a baby brings a lot of pressure on the parents' relationship as they are not able to spend time together. The relationship takes a back seat and the baby becomes the priority.
When the parents provide kangaroo care, they work together to provide comfort to the baby. When both the parents give kangaroo care to the baby, they feel similar things emotionally and physically. This connects them on a special level making the bond much stronger and the love much deeper. Such parents tend to stay together and go on to love and care for their baby throughout their life.