Y asks: “I am 8 months pregnant and I go to a food supplemental place called WIC. The breastfeeding counselor there advised me to try Kangaroo Care or (skin to skin contact). Is this method considered New Age? I don’t have a good feeling about this. What should I do?”
It’s always a good idea to check out anything suspicious you might encounter in a food supplement store because they tend to be riddled with New Age quackery, but in this case, the counselor was giving good advice.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Kangaroo Care is meant to simulate the kangaroo pouch in which a baby is held close to its parent’s bare skin. The method involves holding a baby, who is clothed only in a diaper, upon a parent’s bare chest, and then snuggling them within the parent’s shirt.
” When a mother is kangarooing, the infant typically snuggles into the breast and falls asleep within a few minutes,” the Clinic’s site explains. “The breasts themselves have been shown to change in temperature to accommodate a baby body’s changing temperature needs. In other words, the breast can increase in temperature when the infant’s body is cool and can decrease in temperature as the baby is warmed. The extra sleep that the infant gets snuggling with mom and the assistance in regulating body temperature helps the baby conserve energy and redirects calorie expenditures toward growth and weight gain. Being positioned on mom also helps to stabilize the infant’s respiratory and heart rates.”
Research has shown that kangaroo care has positive effects on a baby’s brain development, heart rate, breathing patterns, oxygen saturation levels, sleep time, and weight gain.
The concept came about in response to the high death rate experienced by preterm babies in Bogota, Columbia in the late 1970s where the death rate for preemies was as high as 70 percent.
“Researchers found that babies who were held close to their mothers’ bodies for large portions of the day, not only survived, but thrived. In the United States, hospitals that encourage kangaroo care typically have their mothers or fathers provide skin-to-skin contact with their preterm babies for several hours each day,” the Clinic reports.
Kangarooing also helps both moms and dads to bond with their children so snuggle away!