Kangaroo care

Kangaroo care, also called skin-to-skin, is a wonderful way to be close to your baby.

What is kangaroo care?

Kangaroo care means holding your diapered baby on your bare chest (if you're the father) or between your breasts (if you're the mother). Be sure to put a blanket over your baby's back to keep him warm. Kangaroo care is great for you and your baby.

How can kangaroo care help your baby?

Kangaroo care may help your baby:

  • Keep his body warm
  • Keep his heart and breathing regular
  • Gain weight
  • Spend more time in deep sleep
  • Spend more time being quiet when awake and less time crying
  • Have a better chance of being able to breastfeed

How can kangaroo care help you?

Kangaroo care may help you: 

  • Make more breast milk
  • Reduce your stress
  • Feel close to your baby

Kangaroo care has emotional benefits for you, too. It builds your confidence as you provide intimate care that can improve your baby's health and well being. You are giving something special to your baby that only you can give. By holding your baby skin-to-skin, you will feel the experience of new parenthood and closeness to your baby. Kangaroo care is healing in many ways, for both you and your baby. 

When can you start kangaroo care?

Ask your NICU staff about its policy on kangaroo care. Some NICUs postpone kangaroo care until the infant is medically stable, while others use it from birth onward. Kangaroo care is safe and beneficial, even if your baby is connected to machines. Whatever your situation, kangaroo care is a precious way to be close to your baby. You will cherish this time.

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Last reviewed: August, 2014