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“Kangaroo Care:” How Physical Contact With Parents Helps Prematurely Born Babies Thrive

In the delicate early days of a premature newborn’s life, the power of touch plays an instrumental role. The practice of immediate body contact between parents and their preemie newborns, often termed “kangaroo care,” has shown remarkable benefits in the growth and development of these tiny fighters.

In this article, we will delve into how this simple yet profound method is making a significant impact in neonatal care.

The Magic of Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo care, the act of holding a premature baby skin-to-skin against a parent’s chest, is more than just a warm embrace. It is a potent therapeutic technique. The skin-to-skin contact regulates the baby’s heart rate and breathing, helps maintain body temperature, and promotes a deeper sleep.

Wayne / Pexels / Preemie-born babies can show great development later on if their parents hold them against their own skin right after birth.


However, it is not just physical benefits. Kangaroo care fosters emotional bonding and reduces stress for both the infant and the parents.

The Science Behind the Snuggle

When a preemie is held close, particularly by a parent, their body responds in ways that are nothing short of miraculous. Studies show that these babies have better-regulated heart rates and breathing patterns. Their body temperature stabilizes, mirroring the warmth of their parent’s body.

Additionally, there is a release of oxytocin, known as the ‘love hormone.’ Something that plays a role in mother-baby bonding and also stimulates milk production in breastfeeding mothers.

Enhancing Developmental Outcomes

For preemies, every day counts. The developmental strides they make through kangaroo care are remarkable. Research indicates that preemies who experience regular skin-to-skin contact have improved brain development and cognitive function. Similarly, these babies also tend to have better sleep patterns, something that is crucial for growth and development.

Laura / Pexels / As a mom or dad holds the preemie baby right after birth, the baby’s heart rate and breathing patterns streamline.


The benefits of immediate body contact extend to the mental health of both the baby and the parents. Parents of preemies often experience high levels of anxiety and stress. Kangaroo care provides a sense of purpose and control, reducing anxiety and boosting the parents’ confidence in caring for their fragile newborn. For the baby, the calming effect of being held close is evident in reduced crying and more stable emotional states.

Challenges and Considerations

While kangaroo care is beneficial, it is not without its challenges. In a hospital setting, coordinating kangaroo care can be tricky, especially in a busy neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

It requires a commitment from the healthcare team and the parents to ensure that it is done safely and effectively. Parents might also need support and education to feel comfortable with the practice, particularly when dealing with the myriad of wires and tubes often attached to their baby.

Yan / Pexels / Given its miraculous impacts on preemies, parents should regularly practice Kangaroo Care.

The practice of kangaroo care is gaining momentum worldwide. Hospitals across the globe are adopting this method, recognizing its importance in neonatal care. In countries with limited resources, where access to sophisticated medical care might be scarce, kangaroo care is proving to be a lifesaving technique.

Empowering Parents, Transforming Care

Immediate body contact empowers parents, making them active participants in their newborn’s care. This involvement is crucial for the emotional well-being of both the baby and the parents.

Thus, it is a shift from a solely medical model of care to a more holistic approach that recognizes the importance of human touch in healing and development.

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