International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day is held on May 15th each year. It also marks the start of our annual Kangaroo-a-thon, where we'd encourage NICU and SCN units around the nation and the world to participate in a challenge to tally the highest kangaroo-cuddle hours at the end of the month. It is a great way to spread awareness on the benefits of kangaroo care, whilst promoting skin-to-skin contact in the hospitals.
What is Kangaroo Care?
Kangaroo care or skin-to-skin contact is a special way both mums and dads can spend time holding their baby and it is an experience parents remember fondly during their hospital stay.
Babies wear only a nappy and are placed in an upright position directly on their parent’s bare chest. The baby’s head will be turned to the side and then a blanket is placed on top of them.
Depending on your baby’s medical condition, you may be able to have your first cuddle the day they are born. Other times, you may need to wait days or weeks before their condition is stable enough for you to do so.
It is a good idea to ask your baby’s nurse when would be a good time, as some days may be better than others depending on how your baby is feeling, how you are feeling or what is going on in the nursery.
Kangaroo care can be done with both premature and full-term babies and is known to have many benefits, such as:
Benefits to Baby:
Benefits to Parents:
"I visited my son an average of 12 hours everyday and spent most hours next to his bedside. The time I treasured most was our daily Kangaroo cuddles; we would spend 2 hours snuggling together, often with the both of us drifting off to sleep. Though there were lots happening around us it often seemed that we were the only two people in the room." - Naomi, Miracle Mum to Caden born at 29 weeks.
Parents should not apply strong perfumes and deodorant or smoke before participating in kangaroo care time with their baby. If the doctors feel that cuddling would be too much for your baby, you can still provide them comfort by offering your finger to grasp, and talking or singing to them. However, it is always important to speak with your baby's medical team if you have any questions in relation to kangaroo cuddles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout May we're encouraging people to help us promote Kangaroo Care by sharing photos on social media. Join us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and encourage families to post comments and photographs #miraclebabies #kangaroocare #kangaroocuddle #nicu #specialcare #premmie
We also want to hear what skin-to-skin contact means to families and what their experiences have been around it. People can share their stories through our 'Family Story' form.