Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC, Owner of Nourish Breastfeeding Support
On May 15 of this year, we will celebrate the first annual International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day.
As lactation consultants, most of us are well-versed in the importance of keeping babies skin to skin with their mothers and we are familiar with the work of Dr. Nils Bergman. We regularly encourage the mothers we work with to hold their babies to their chests with their skin touching, we advocate for policy changes in hospitals, and we educate the public about this important practice.
Kangaroo Mother Care has three parts:
- Skin to Skin Contact - putting babies in the “sweet spot”, right between mother’s breasts and under her chin, is important starting at birth, but helpful anytime. Babies and mothers should be kept like this as much as possible and around the clock. Even dads, partners and grandparents can keep a baby close and tight.
- Exclusive Breastfeeding – for most babies, this means feeding directly from their mother’s breasts. Babies who are born prematurely might need to be fed by another method and might also need additional nutrients.
- Support of the Mother/Baby Dyad – Whatever mother and baby need, regardless of whether this is a physical need, an emotional need or a medical need, we meet these with a focus on keeping them together.
We encourage you, on May 15th, in celebration of the first International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, to take a few moments to read a new article, engage in conversation with a new health care provider, and encourage one more mother to keep her baby right on her chest, right where he/she belongs.