A newborn child is helpless when born. He needs to develop and inculcate the skills required for survival, which include simple exercises like breathing and acclimatizing to the unprotected environment outside the womb. Every newborn child has to learn to survive through this stage. A premature baby has even greater challenges than babies who are not premature, because their systems are not developed to survive on their own. Extra care needs to be provided for them.
In the manner of this, the kangaroo method has been developed because it has been known to provide some of the most unique advantages for the survival of a weak, premature baby. This method focuses on the healing power of skin to skin contact between the mother and the child and the advantages that it provides for by way of this. In the following sections we will go into more details on the particulars of this method and learn how it works.
The kangaroo care method helps not only in the early stages of child care but also provides a base for child development. Let us understand the process in more detail in the following paragraphs.
History of the Method
he kangaroo mother care method was first developed in 1978 in Columbia as a way to lower the mortality rates of premature babies due to lack of proper technical and health facilities. There weren't enough incubators and technical support system equipment forms for the babies, and neither were there enough care takers for the same. It was then that the kangaroo care formula for newborns was suggested, which involved providing the baby the required support with the help of skin to skin contact with the parents.
As the name suggests, this method was drawn from the baby care style that a kangaroo adopts when caring for its baby. It carries the baby in its pouch and therefore there is constant contact between the parent and the child and skin to skin care is provided for. This factor has been seen to lend several benefits that do not remain limited to merely the physical aspects, but extend to include several psychological aspects as well. What is this method of kangaroo care for infants? Let us find out in the following sections.
The Details of Using this Method
In this method, a newborn baby is strapped to the mother's or father's chest with the help of a cloth. The baby is only draped in a diaper and is placed between the mother's breasts or on the father's chest and is secured with the help of a soft cloth. The neck and head are left free, while the buttocks are tied. The cloth is then tied around the parents' chest and an additional cloth or blanket is drawn over the babies head. This method provides for direct skin to skin contact between the parent and child as is clearly seen. The baby's head is left free so that it can move and assume a more comfortable position.
Since the kangaroo care method is used for premature babies who are usually supported by a ventilator or are placed in an incubator, it has to be determined whether they are safe to breathe on their own. It is for this reason that it requires the intervention of the medical staff. The medical staff has to determine the progress of the baby and whether the baby is strong enough to breathe on its own.
Benefits of Kangaroo Care
Why is this method considered one of the most effective methods of providing newborn care and nourishment? Here are a few factors that will help you understand what the advantages of this method are.
- The skin to skin contact helps to regulate the body temperature of the baby through the parents touch.
- There is an instant bonding formed between the child and the parent.
- The baby can hear the rhythmic heart beats of the parent, which provides a sense of familiarity that was present in the environment in the womb. The sound also provides for comfort and security.
- This method especially helps those newborns who are underweight―it helps in regulating body weight.
- It leads to less stress in the baby because the baby does not cry as often and manages to sleep for longer periods.
- It regulates the heart rate and the breathing.
- It strengthens the immune system and prevents the onset of infections and diseases.
- The close contact releases special hormones in the mother that help inculcate the motherly feeling and instill a strong motherly instinct in her.
- If the mother chooses to breastfeed the baby during this time, there are chances that the supply of milk will be enhanced after discontinuing this practice as well. Which means that there will be more nutrition for the baby.
The kangaroo care method is seen to benefit all newborns, but the unparalleled advantage that it provides for in the care of premature babies is something that makes it even more special. It is one of those rare methods that allows for bonding and nurturing between the child and the parent.