Kangaroo care has long been used for premature babies but has become popular for full-term babies as well. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center regularly practices kangaroo care, and UCLA OB-GYN Dr. Lydia Kyung-Min Lee and pediatrician Dr. Larry Gray discuss is many benefits in this NPR article.
Story by Patti Neighmond, January 23, 2017, NPR
Photo by Morgan Walker
The benefits are many, according to Dr. Lydia Kyung-Min Lee, an ob-gyn at UCLA. Not only is the baby happier, she says, but his or her vitals are more stable. Body temperature, heart and breathing rate normalize more quickly. The close contact also allows the baby to be exposed to the same bacteria as the mother, which can protect against allergies and infection in the future. Infants who receive kangaroo care breast feed more easily, Lee says, and their mothers tend to breast feed for longer periods of time, which is “all good.”
Babies also seem to suffer less pain. Almost 20 years ago, Gray studied how babies respond to a heel prick to draw blood, a procedure that screens newborns for genetic disorders. He found that when healthy newborns had kangaroo care, there was less facial grimacing and crying suggesting pain, compared to babies who had been swaddled and had the procedure in their bassinets, “sort of alone.”
Read more here.