This Wednesday, May 15, is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Month and, despite its name, it is not a day celebrated at zoos, but rather in neonatal intensive care units.
Kangaroo care refers to the act of placing your newborn on your chest – skin to skin. It’s good for you and it’s good for baby.
Numerous studies have documented the benefits of kangaroo care. They include improved heart rate, oxygen saturation, breathing, sleep, weight gain, breastfeeding and reduced crying.
Research has also found positive associations with cognitive and motor skills, and psychosocial benefits, such as attachment and parental confidence.
To celebrate and increase awareness for kangaroo care, Akron Children’s NICUs are holding a Kangaroo-a-thon, which includes a challenge to get as many parents kangarooing as possible from May 15 – 31.
As many NICU parents will testify, kangaroo care is such a simple gesture – and pleasure – with both immediate and life-long benefits.