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What are the benefits of kangaroo care for premature babies?

woman in hospital holding her newborn

Key points:

  1. Kangaroo care involves skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her premature baby, promoting healthy development and potentially saving lives.
  2. Research has shown that kangaroo care can lead to better sleep, improved brain function, and higher reasoning skills in premature babies.
  3. This method not only benefits the baby but also strengthens the bond between the mother and child.
  4. Kangaroo care simulates the nurturing environment of the womb, supporting vital systems like the heart rate and brain development in premature infants.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15 million babies are born preterm every year. Being preterm means that a baby is born before the 37th week of gestation. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US states that preterm babies are at a greater risk for respiratory diseases, mental disabilities, and other complications. In some cases, their lives can be at stake due to a lack of intervention, resources, and intensive care in certain healthcare facilities.


However, research has shown that if babies receive several hours of physical contact each day, their risks diminish. Kangaroo care is a method that involves a parent or caretaker holding her baby skin to skin, with full contact against her body. To keep the baby warm, the back should be covered with a blanket. Studies have shown that this method improves vital signs and development in preterm babies, and it could even save their lives.

But why does it work?

Research suggests that a baby’s development and certain body systems, such as the circulatory system, are sensitive to maternal contact. When babies are born preterm, the development of these systems is disrupted. Kangaroo care helps replicate the environment of the uterus, providing the warmth and maternal contact that babies are meant to experience during their development in the womb.

Today, we understand how important it is for all babies, especially preterm babies, to receive plenty of physical contact. Due to its numerous benefits, experts suggest that mothers practice Kangaroo care with all babies, regardless of whether they are preterm or not. By promoting Kangaroo care, you can improve your baby’s well-being and development, giving them the best possible start in life. So, don’t hesitate to embrace the power of skin-to-skin contact and enjoy those precious bonding moments with your little one!

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