Kangaroo cuddles helped NICU baby thrive

Today, May 15, is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day. Kangaroo care or skin-to-skin care is a special way parents and carers can spend time holding their baby
In kangaroo care, babies usually only wear a nappy and are placed in an upright position directly on their parent's bare chest. The baby’s head is turned to the side and a blanket is placed on top to keep them warm.

For Miracle Mum, Jen, kangaroo cuddles were a treasured part of her and her husband's hospital journey and she believes they helped baby Joshua thrive during his NICU and SCN stay.

I feel kangaroo cuddles were so important in Joshy’s development and for reducing postnatal depression in mums of prem babies. You get a plethora of hormones which flood you with love - which makes things slightly easier when having to leave your baby in the care of other people. It is such a beautiful thing which should be encouraged and shared!” Jen said.

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This time of year is made even more special for Jen because her son Joshua has just turned one! Jen share’s a bit about their journey. 

“Joshua was born at 32 weeks 3 days via emergency c-section at John hunter hospital at 01:58am. His birthweight was 2420g and was 42cm long. He had a full crop of dark brown hair and big blue eyes.
Joshy spent the first 12 hours of life on a CPAP machine but was proving to be breathing on his own quite well. I was unable to hold him on the first day due to my own health (I had a general anaesthetic - and I’m a cheap drunk, plus an antepartum haemorrhage shortly after his birth).

The first week we spent in Newcastle. We had daily kangaroo cuddles, as many as I could for in! My husband Dave also got in on that action! These were amazing for bonding, as I wasn’t able to take him to the maternity ward with me. It was also great for the production of breast milk! Joshy was tube fed Expressed Breast Milk every three hours and I managed to keep a really good supply up due to those kangaroo cuddles!

We came home to the SCN in our hometown of Tamworth a week after he was born.  We gradually moved to bottle feeds of EBM alternating with tube feeds. Towards the end of our stay in the SCN we were told there was a chance of developmental delays, autism etc. After my years of working in disability, my brain was already working in overdrive of what we were going to do.

However, when Joshy came home, he was hitting all of his milestones for his corrected age, and even earlier! The best way I found to cope was not to look at ‘when’ they should be doing a milestone, but document ‘what’ he did ‘when’ he did it.

Fast forward 12 months, and he crawls around, can pull himself up on furniture, sidle around chairs, walk assisted, say bub, mum, yummy and da-da, loves playing guitar with his grandfather and also loves food.”

To read more of Jen's original story click HERE.

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SHARING YOUR OWN STORY: We love hearing and sharing your family stories. They are a unique way to help other families going through a similar journey and support our cause. We welcome every Miracle family story, no matter what stage of the journey you're at. We encourage those wishing to share their story to please submit it HERE

 

Kangaroo care has many scientifically proven benefits including:

Benefits to Baby

  • Maintain the baby’s body temperature
  • Regulates baby’s heart and breathing rates
  • Encourages baby to spend more time in a deep sleep
  • Increases baby’s weight gain
  • Improved oxygen saturation levels
  • Longer periods of alertness
  • Helps promote frequent breastfeeding
  • Provides longer, restful sleep
  • Reduces the risk of infection and mitigates infections
  • Reduces neonatal mortality

Benefits to Parents

  • Can build confidence
  • Increases your bond with baby and can ease feelings of separation
  • Can improve breast milk production and increases the chances of successful breastfeeding

 

Author

Miracle Babies Foundation

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