Also called ‘skin to skin’, Kangaroo Care was developed in Bogota, Columbia in the early 1980s by Rey and Martinez. They found themselves in a situation where there were not enough incubators, so premature babies were strapped to their mothers.
The mortality rate for these premature infants reduced from 70% to 30%. Research studies since have reported benefits of Kangaroo Care in all types of care setting.
In 2001, the World Health Organisation said ‘Kangaroo Care should be implemented in affluent and developing countries’. As a result, many Western Neonatal Intensive Care Units now perform some form of Kangaroo Care for premature babies.
Research Studies show Kangaroo Care is beneficial for all babies and their parents and is associated with:
- better weight gain
- shorter hospital stay
- better temperature control
- breathing, heart rate, blood sugar regulation
- brain development
- successful bonding
- more successful breastfeeding
- less crying, more quiet sleep
Kangaroo Care may also help the baby to receive ‘good bacteria’ from the mother. Some scientists believe this could be an important link in boosting the baby’s immune system and ability to fight disease.
Radio Interview: Kangaroo Care explained by Sarah Gregson on Radio Kent
KangaWrap Born out of Award Winning, Pioneering Research
Midwives at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust made the first UK study to investigate Kangaroo Care in a postnatal ward environment. They found Kangaroo Care babies needed a shorter hospital stay – four days rather than the five for those with ‘usual’ care – and there was more exclusive breastfeeding on discharge from hospital; 72% vs 55%.
The research delivered positive results for Kangaroo Care and won the Royal College of Midwives National Award and an All Party Parliamentary Group Award.
- Award Winning Kangaroo Care Project at Tunbridge Wells Hospital – Royal College of Midwives 2012 (Read More)
- Kangaroo Care in pre-term or low birth weight babies in postnatal ward – British Journal of Midwifery – Sept ’11 (Read More)
- How kangaroo cuddles help Caesarean babies bond with mum – Daily Mail 4-Feb-14 (Read More)
- Skin-to-skin contact after elective caesarean section: Investigating the effect on breastfeeding rates – British Journal of Midwifery – January 2016 (Read More)
Kangaroo Care for Caesarean Birth
The KangaWrap Midwives then applied to conduct further research to find better ways to serve mums who give birth via Caesarean Section. For this, the team designed the ‘KangaWrap Kardi’ to enable mums to have Kangaroo Care (or ‘Skin to Skin’) immediately and in comfort after a Caesarean birth.
The study showed favourable results and, like the KangaWrap, the KangaWrap Kardi is being taken up by other hospitals and birthing centres who are keen to practise Kangaroo Care.
Watch the hospital’s short film to show this baby-friendly Caesarean Birth:
The KangaWrap Kardi is only available for supervised use in hospitals for Caesarean Birth and the hours immediately following it. On discharge from hospital, a KangaWrap is perfect for Kangaroo Care for mum (or dad!) and baby.