During your pregnancy you probably will learn about Kangaroo Care, the practice of holding your baby skin-to-skin after birth.
But do you know the facts? Double check your knowledge on who benefits from Kangaroo Care and how.
Myth: Only premature babies need Kangaroo Care.
Truth: All babies benefit from Kangaroo Care, whether premature or full-term. These benefits include stabilizing heart rate, better breathing, easier start to breastfeeding, stronger emotional bonding and much more. These benefits can start immediately after birth and continue throughout infancy.
Myth: Only mothers need to practice Kangaroo Care with a new baby.
Truth: Every family member can do Kangaroo Care. Moms, dads, siblings and grandparents can all practice skin-to-skin time with a new baby to bond and interact. You can cuddle up with bare skin and a blanket, or special shirts and wraps are available from many maternity retailers to facilitate skin-to-skin contact.
Myth: A few minutes of skin-to-skin at a time is enough to reap the benefits.
Truth: While a short time is better than none, it is ideal to spend at least 60 minutes at a time in Kangaroo Care with your infant.
New moms should strip baby down to a diaper and lay his body along your exposed skin. Cover both up with a blanket and relax for at least an hour. Do this as often as you are comfortable.
Myth: Kangaroo Care isn’t possible for moms having C-Sections.
Truth: In cases of emergency C-Sections, this may be true. But talk to your doctor about your desire for skin-to-skin after a C-Section and put a plan in place. Many factors come into play such as the type of anesthesia you have and the number of available nurses in the operating room, but it’s not impossible to have Kangaroo Care after a C-Section. Check out www.evidencebasedbirth.com for research and advocacy materials on skin-to-skin care after C-Sections.
Myth: Skin-to-skin care is done simply for the baby’s sake.
Truth: Moms and dads can benefit tremendously with Kangaroo Care. Mothers have lower risk for postpartum depression and find breastfeeding easier. Both parents experience better bonding and feel calmer in the recovery stages of childbirth.
Many providers are making Kangaroo Care standard practice in the delivery room, so remember to include it in your birth plan if it sounds right for you.