NICU moms and babies celebrate Mother's Day with intimate and beneficial skin-to-skin "kangaroo care" bonding

March of Dimes, Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City and NICU mom photographers provide families with support and keepsake photos for babies’ first Mother's Day

Kansas City, MO | Thursday, May 11, 2017

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Mother’s Day at Saint Luke’s Hospital is always full of touching moments. This week, in honor of the holiday, the March of Dimes and Saint Luke’s Hospital are helping to make the day extra special for newborn intensive care unit (NICU) moms and families by providing support and personalized keepsake photos captured during skin-to-skin bonding. 

Finding ways to spend quality time is sometimes hard to do in the NICU, where babies who are premature or critically ill are often fragile and under constant care. Skin-to-skin care, also called kangaroo care, or holding a diapered baby against a bare chest, is recommended by the March of Dimes and health experts worldwide. The practice is also supported by Saint Luke’s staff for its many health benefits to both parent and baby, including positive brain development, weight-gain, heart stabilization and reduction in discomfort, stress and the chance of infection for baby, as well as physical and emotional bonding, increasing breastmilk supply and stress reduction for mom. 

The March of Dimes and Saint Luke’s worked with mom photographers – some whose children had previously been in the NICU – to document the sweet bonding sessions, gifting the keepsake photos to families. 

“Mother’s Day – especially a mom’s very first with her new baby – can be hard for many families with children in the NICU,” says March of Dimes president Stacey D. Stewart. “Our NICU Family Support program works with Saint Luke’s Hospital and more than 100 other hospitals around the United States to offer the support families need to have the best possible experience when their baby is in the NICU. From providing the chance to build a loving bond by using the sense of touch with kangaroo care, to commemorating milestones like Mother’s Day, the March of Dimes is proud to partner with hospitals like St. Luke’s to give every baby and every family a healthy, loving start.” 

To view and share these intimate Mother’s Day photos and video, click here.
All photos should be dual credited to March of Dimes and the photographer whose name is watermarked in each photo.  Video is to be credited to Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

The March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program® at Saint Luke’s Hospital supports moms who are on bed rest and at the bedside with premature or critically ill children in the NICU. The program also educates NICU staff about the best ways to support babies, families and each other.

Babies born premature (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), even born just a few weeks too soon, can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities including breathing problems, vision loss, cerebral palsy, and intellectual delays. In the United States, about 380,000 babies are born too soon each year – that’s 1 in 10. The premature birth rate in our country is higher than that in most other high-resource nations.
 
The March of Dimes is supporting cutting-edge research at a nationwide network of five Prematurity Research Centers, where about 200 of the brightest minds are collaborating to create major breakthroughs in prematurity. By working together, March of Dimes-funded scientists and researchers are finding answers to the unknown causes of premature birth. 
 
Saint Luke’s will also host a kangaroo-a-thon May 9-14, 2017 encouraging time spent with mom and baby enjoying skin-to-skin contact and supported by Saint Luke’s NICU staff.  

Kangaroo care has documented benefits for both parent and baby. Benefits for baby include:
•    Reduce discomfort and stress
•    Reduce the chance of infection
•    Help brain development
•    Keep baby’s body warm
•    Help stabilize heart rate
•    Help baby gain weight 
•    Encourage more time in deep sleep
•    Encourage successful breast feeding
 
It can also be beneficial for mom:
•    Help mom bond to baby with physical connection
•    Increase mom’s breastmilk supply
•    Reduce stress and lift your spirits
•    Help mom gain confidence in physical touch and care of baby

About Saint Luke’s Hospital
Saint Luke’s hospitals deliver more than 6,000 babies every year.  Saint Luke’s offers the most advanced expertise and services to expectant mothers and their babies. Saint Luke’s NICUs offer advanced care for premature babies and infants requiring critical care. We utilize a team of experts, including neonatologists, lactation consultants, nutritionists and nurses to care for moms on bed rest, as well as NICU and full-term babies, with care tailored to each baby’s unique needs.


About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.