Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kangaroo Care

Humans haven’t learned much from Kangaroos, but they have learned one thing: its really, really nice to hold your baby close.

It is also apparently really good for the baby. Last night, Dylan got an upset stomach. He was wriggling around, grimacing, and testing out his lung power with the odd yell. The nurse suggested ‘skin-to-skin kangaroo care.’ Kelly eagerly agreed.

The technique is simple. Just stuff the baby down your shirt and hug him.

This melted Kelly’s heart instantly. But it also made Dylan pretty happy. He got calm and quiet. His eyes were wide open for a while as he checked out his mom. His ear pressed down, honing in on Kelly’s heartbeat. Then, after a few minutes he fell asleep.

They lay there together for more than an hour and when we finally put Dylan back in his incubator, he was a picture of peace.

It is mysterious stuff, this Kangaroo care. In the late 1970s, a hospital in Bogota, Colombia introduced it religiously in an attempt reduce their horrific 70 percent premature infant mortality rate. Almost immediately, the rate dropped to 30 percent.

Doctors say the benefits of Kangaroo care to the child include… regularization of heart and breathing rates, reduced stress and pain responses, improved cognitive development, reduced risk of infections, normalized growth and increased weight gain, effective intervention for colic, and of course parent-infant bonding.

And parents love it too.

Huzzah for the Kangaroos, Oppossums, Platypae and other marsupials. We owe you big time.


  1. I LOVE DYLAN! Awesome post. He is going to be a serious contender in our next "old man face" contest. Liam demanded skin to skin until 6 months. I miss it :( Love those boys and love you guys, xoxo Lindy

  2. Kelly, you and Rich will make the best parents ever. You are already making Dylan and Laird so happy! Miss you around here.