If you haven’t heard of “kangaroo care,” that’s okay. It’s what moms, dads, and most mammals instinctively do: we hold on tight to our new little babies to protect them and keep them warm. Unfortunately, in the modern world, some moms and dads aren’t doing what comes naturally out of neglect or some misplaced notion that it’s possible to “spoil” a baby. But even for the rest of us, a new analysis of over a thousand studies shows the value of doing a lot of what comes naturally.
Kangaroo care just refers to extended skin-to-skin contact between mom or dad and baby, often including exclusive breast-feeding. Kangaroo Care, or K.M.C. has become synonymous with skin-to-skin contact, but has also come to mean a more specific program of this contact before mom and baby leave the hospital.
In a new analysis done at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, researchers found that kangaroo care resulted in the following positive results:
- 47 percent lower risk of sepsis
- 78 percent lower riks of hypothermia
- 88 percent lower risk of hypoglycemia
- 36 percent lower risk of death among babies born at less than 4 pounds, 4 ounces
Additionally, kangaroo care babies were significantly less likely to be admitted to the hospital.
So, yes, hold on tight to your baby with plenty of skin-to-skin contact. It will make you smile too. While this study did not examine the effect on mom and dad, other studies have found a possible link between kangaroo care and lessening time and severity of postpartum depression (PPD).
The review, published in Pediatrics, covered 124 studies on kangaroo care.