Monday, January 18, 2010

Our Experience With Kangaroo Care

My daughter was born with some minor health concerns. Because of this, the pediatricians at the hospital recommended she remain in the hospital for a week to be observed. It was very upsetting that we didn’t get to take her home; however, the experience was not entirely negative. I was able to stay in my daughter’s room the entire week, and we learned about a very valuable method of caring for babies. This method is called Kangaroo Care.

Kangaroo Care is a method often used with premature babies, but it has been proven to be very successful in helping both premature and term babies overcome a myriad of problems. Our daughter was not a preemie, but she had health issues related to her respiration rate. We were encouraged to do Kangaroo Care with her to speed up her recovery.

When I first entered my daughter’s room and expressed my desire to hold her, the nurses instructed me to wear my hospital gown with the front part open. They placed my baby, wearing only her diaper, on my bare chest. They described her position as head-up, skin-to-skin, tummy-to-tummy. She was hooked up to many monitors, so we could see exactly how this method of holding was affecting her breathing, oxygen intake, blood pressure, and pulse. The nurses were pleased with what they saw, and encouraged me to keep holding her like this – head up, skin-to-skin, and tummy-to-tummy.

In addition to holding her in this position, they also encouraged me to breastfeed on demand – that is, feed her whenever she wants to eat, paying no attention to the clock.

My husband and I were eager to do anything to speed up her recovery, so we utilized Kangaroo Care around the clock. She was constantly held skin-to-skin by either my husband or me, and I breastfed her whenever she so much as hinted that she was hungry.

After one 24-hour day of continuous Kangaroo Care, she had almost completely recovered. She remained in the hospital to complete her round of antibiotics, but we were no longer worried about her. I obviously have no way of knowing if she would have had such a speedy recovery without Kangaroo Care, but I truly believe it played a major role in helping her get better.

For a full week, our daughter had skin-to-skin contact with us and breastfed whenever she wanted. Even after she got out of the hospital, we continued to use Kangaroo Care regularly. It was wonderful. Rather than trying to get my house back in order, I was content to relax and snuggle with my baby. I knew that I needed to rest, and I felt confident that my daughter was reaping tremendous benefits.

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