Skin-to-skin/kangaroo care

TAKING PART IN BABY CARE

Skin-to-skin/kangaroo care

Skin-to-skin care

Physical contact between you and your baby is very important for your child’s growth and development as well as to build a bond with each other. It gives a feeling of safety and connectedness. Additionally, during skin-to-skin care your child often has more stable vital signs like heart activity, breathing, the oxygen level in the blood and temperature. Other benefits are higher rates of breastfeeding, better feeding competencies and lower rates of infection. A baby that is bundled has little reason for stress, experiences less pain and because of that cries less. If all goes well with your baby, you can give kangaroo care (skin-to-skin care). 

Skin-to-skin care is a way to let your child get used to you as a parent by having physical contact. Your baby, wearing only a cap and a nappy, will lie on your bare chest. Hygiene is paramount. Make sure you wear clean clothes and try to avoid smoking beforehand. We also advise against the use of any perfume, aftershave or scented soap. 

Transfer

It is important that the transfer of your baby from the cot to your chest  is comfortable and slow. Your baby is always supported and wrapped in this transfer. At first, a nurse can help to put the baby on your chest while you are already sitting. When you are more experienced, you can put your baby directly to your chest, and sit down after. You can also be helped by your partner during the transfer.

Position during skin-to-skin care

During skin-to-skin care the baby is upright against your bare chest. The arms are bent with the hands near the face and the legs raised in a bent position with the legs turned inside. You hold the baby with 1 hand on his back and 1 hand under his/her bottom. In some departments there are skin-to-skin care tops. They come in various sizes and make sure your baby has more support during skin-to-skin care. There are hand mirrors in some departments so that you can look at your baby while having skin-to-skin care. Because being lifted takes a lot of your baby’s energy and causes stress, we recommend you bundle for at least 1 hour. Moreover, the sleeping cycle of a premature baby takes about 1 hour. You can bundle for as long as you and your baby like. If you like, you can sing softly or read your baby a story while having skin-to-skin care. Your familiar voice will calm him.

Remember:

Skin-to-skin care is good practice and you should perform this early, frequently and continuously.

Kangaroo Mother Care

Positioning and handling