There’s nothing like a mother’s touch, and one new study on long-lasting health of premature babies is proof.
Researchers learned that babies who received “kangaroo care” while in the hospital after birth have few behavioral problems, among other things. Kangaroo care, according to the Huffington post, is skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby.
“The study shows that kangaroo mother care gives premature and low birth weight babies a better chance of thriving,” said Dr. Peter A. Singer, CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, which helped support the research. “[It] saves brains and makes premature and low birthweight babies healthier and wealthier.”
The term kangaroo care comes from the way mother kangaroos carry their babies in their pouch. During kangaroo care, mothers lay their newborn babies – wearing only a diaper and a blanket for warmth – on their chest. Experts say the benefits include improved oxygen flow and faster weight gain; both helpful for premature babies who typically struggle with these functions after birth.
“It’s like holistic care for the babies,” said Dr. Amy Hair, a neonatologist and director of neonatal nutrition at Texas Children’s Hospital. “They’re so fragile when they’re in the NICU – some are the size of a Coke can – and their parents are, understandably, afraid to touch them.”