The Benefits of the Kangaroo Method in Infants
The initial days after birth are crucial for a newborn baby. Their surroundings change completely and the greatest concern for parents is making their baby feel as comfortable as possible during this transition. One really beneficial approach is the so-called Kangaroo Method for newborns.
Keep reading to find out about this technique and all its benefits.
What is the Kangaroo Method in newborns?
The so-called Kangaroo Method is a technique for caring for newborns that is based on skin-to-skin contact between mother and child. With this simple practice, parents fulfill the baby’s needs for nutrition, stimulation, and protection.
The basic premise is that the newborn should never be separated from their ideal environment, which is being close to their mother’s body. When babies are denied this right, it creates a stressful situation for the baby that can lead to colicky symptoms, sleep problems, and even attention deficit.
Likewise, the skin-to-skin contact the newborn needs can also be provided by the father or another adult. This can help the mother to go out or attend to her own needs if necessary.
The name of this technique is derived from the similarity with how a mother kangaroo treats her child. In marsupials, babies go through a period of extrauterine development in the pouch of the mother. After leaving the uterus, marsupials like baby kangaroos finalize their development by clutching to their mother inside her pouch. This is where the mammary glands are also located.
Although this method of neonatal care arose and became popular as a way of caring for premature babies, it’s an equally valid and effective technique to adopt for all newborns. Parents can adapt it in each case to the needs of the newborn.
Components of the Kangaroo Method
There are essentially two key practices that comprise the Kangaroo Method. With these two practices all the baby’s needs in terms of physical contact, stimulation, nutrition, and protection are met.
First, it’s the kangaroo position itself. This is the practice of providing skin-to-skin contact 24 hours a day ideally when possible. The child should be in a vertical position (so you should use a clinging carrier or blanket to carry the baby against your body at all times). They should stay bound to you, and never less than two hours consecutively.
Secondly, breastfeeding is the basis of feeding in this method. Thus, the child should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months and feeding should occur on demand. As long as the child has the capacity to suction and swallow, breastfeeding should be practiced directly without other feeding aids like syringes or bottles.
Benefits of the babywearing method in newborns
The skin-to-skin contact helps babies to regulate their vital signs more quickly for those that are in an incubator. Their oxygen level, their respiration, and their heart rate will regulate, as well as their body temperature. The mother raises and lowers hers based on the needs of the baby.
From this intimate contact with the mother, the child feels relaxed and they have lower levels of stress hormones, reducing the risk associated with stroke.
Likewise, this position helps to create greater levels of attachment and strengthens the bond between mother and child, which makes the baby feel more secure and emotionally stable in the long term.
The Kangaroo method favors the production of breastmilk in the mother. It also favors the instinct to suckle in the child, reducing the problems that can arise when trying to breastfeed. In addition, it makes it easier for the baby to feed regularly, leading to better levels of weight gain.
This secure position assures that the baby’s stomach is capable of better absorption of foods. In addition, the mother is capable of producing milk specifically for the needs of her baby at every moment.
Newborns who are cared for in their first weeks of life using the Kangaroo method are protected from infections and receive more stimulation, protection, and love than children who are restricted to an incubator. In addition, this practice reduces the length of hospital stays.
Benefits of the Kangaroo Method for the mother
- The intimate and prolonged contact the baby receives by using the Kangaroo method will help the mother to generate more oxytocin and she’ll feel more calm, strong, and secure.
- This practice also favors better synchronization between the sleep schedules of the mother and child. It allows mom to rest for longer periods of time. She can better take advantage of when her child is resting as well.
- With the Kangaroo method, the mother becomes the leader of the team that will take care of the baby. This can help the mother feel that she’s fulfilling her role and giving her baby the best care possible. As a result, the risk of postpartum depression is also reduced.