As soon as you are able to hold your newborn, especially if they were born early, consider some skin-to-skin snuggling.
This type of skin-to-skin contact, also called kangaroo care, benefits both you and your baby. It can promote
bonding and the release of feel-good hormones, for example. It can also help regulate your baby's body temperature and heart rate.
What is kangaroo care?
Kangaroo care was developed in South America as a way to keep premature infants warm. Mothers were instructed to hold their diaper-clad premature infants skin-to-skin beneath their clothing for warmth and breastfeeding. While many hospitals, birth centers and neonatal intensive care units now call the practice skin-toskin care, the term kangaroo care is still affectionately used, too.
What are the benefits of skin-to-skin care for infants?
These benefits are apparent even when kangaroo care happens for only a few minutes each day.
Both parents can give kangaroo care!
Both parents can participate in skin-to-skin care. Most nurseries have comfortable rocking chairs and screens that can be placed around your chair or the baby's care area. Simply wear clothing that opens down the front. You can snuggle with your baby upright on your chest, or gently lay their head against your chest.
A source of comfort & calm after delivery
Feeling your baby's warm skin against yours allows a special closeness for you both. It can be a source of comfort and calm at a time when so many people on the medical team are caring for your newborn.
Once you take baby home
take your baby home, continue to find times to enjoy the pleasure of skin-to-skin contact. First thing in the morning or after a bath, for example, are great opportunities.