As Breastfeeding regained momentum in recent years, experts began to study the dynamic of Breastfeeding among fellow mammals in nature. While we, humans, have lots of unnecessary tools and gadgets to “help” us along the Breastfeeding journey, other mammals seem to successfully and effortlessly Breastfeed their young. Of all the mammals observed, the Kangaroo seems to have left one of the greatest impressions on Breastfeeding experts.
We should all remember being in elementary school learning about Kangaroos and the fascinating way their babies (Joeys) are carried in that fabulous belly pouch, but what we didn’t learn was the significance the pouch has on Breastfeeding, growth/development, and thermoregulation all of which are vital to survival. A Kangaroo carries her Joey in her pouch immediately after birth until it reaches about 7mos old. While in the pouch, the Joey has complete access to its mother’s teats, is kept warm, and is gradually introduced to the world until it is mature enough to permanently leave the pouch. Kangaroo Care, which was so adorably crafted after the way kangaroos care for their young, has been a most precious gift to human babies, especially those born preterm, and breastfeeding families across the world.
Kangaroo Care, also referred to as skin-to-skin, is given when you hold your baby’s bare chest on your bare chest usually between your breasts. Kangaroo Care has proven to have many advantages for the Breastfeeding family including: increasing the success of breastfeeding initiation, reducing apnea and irregular breathing, increasing growth rate, increasing milk supply, and increasing thermoregulation. Although Kangaroo Care is beneficial to all newborns, this special nurturing is VERY essential when caring for pre-term and late pre-term infants. It has been proven to shorten NICU stays along with the aforementioned benefits. Kangaroo Care should not be limited to mother and baby, for Dad and Grandma, too, can offer this TLC to your baby. Kangaroo Care makes happier and healthier babies, more relaxed mothers, and better bonded families.
When families seek tips to calm and soothe baby (and Mama), one of the best tips they can receive is to do skin-to-skin. Skin-to-skin can be done with your baby for many months after birth, so go ahead and take your baby’s clothes off (leave the diaper on), tuck her down inside your t-shirt (take your bra off), and enjoy some therapeutic snuggles with the one who will call you Mama!