Kangaroo Care

It’s time to get close: Baptist Health encourages new parents to get to know their newborn through a practice known as “kangaroo care.” This type of skin-to-skin cuddling smooths your baby’s transition into the world and promotes bonding between babies and their parents. Your Baptist Health provider can help explain the many benefits of kangaroo care for you and your baby and help you get started. 

Kangaroo Care Basics

At Baptist Health, we encourage you to spend as much time as possible holding your baby soon after birth. This approach includes kangaroo care, a practice that starts right after delivery. 

  • What is kangaroo care? Kangaroo care involves holding your baby in the minutes and days after birth using skin-to-skin contact. It’s similar to how kangaroos hold their babies in a pouch. 
  • What it means for moms: As long as mom and baby are healthy, you can likely spend the first hours of your baby’s life bonding. Immediately after delivery, we’ll lay baby (naked except for a diaper and cap) on mom’s bare chest. We’ll give you the privacy you need to get to know each other. Many moms use this special time right after birth to breastfeed baby for the first time.
  • What it means for dads: Dads can also benefit from the closeness of kangaroo care. We’ll show you how holding baby against your bare chest can sync your rhythms and fast-track the parent-child connection you’ll spend years nurturing.
  • Kangaroo care in the NICU: This practice offers special benefits to babies facing extra challenges after birth. Our compassionate NICU nurses will show you how kangaroo care translates to the NICU, explaining how and when you can cuddle your baby. If baby isn’t ready for skin-to-skin contact, we’ll teach you other forms of affection, such as “hand hugs.”

Benefits of Kangaroo Care

We encourage parents to continue kangaroo care to whatever degree works for them, both in the hospital and at home through baby’s first year of life. Kangaroo care benefits moms and babies — and even dads! 

  • Benefits for baby: When you’re cuddling kangaroo-style, your baby feels a sense of closeness and security from your scent and breathing pattern. Science shows kangaroo care helps babies:
    • Maintain body warmth and regulate breathing 
    • Gain weight more quickly
    • Sleep and breastfeed better
    • Feel calm and secure
    • Notice less pain when getting shots or minor procedures
    • Receive important antibodies from mom’s skin
  • Benefits for parents: Kangaroo care also benefits moms and dads, helping parents:
    • Establish a close connection with baby more quickly
    • Increase mom’s breast milk supply
    • Feel confident and in control as the main caregivers for baby 

Why Choose Baptist Health for Maternity Care? 

Choosing where you have your baby is an important decision that can affect your pregnancy and birth experience in a big way. Women and families choose Baptist Health for maternity care because of our:

  • Experience and compassion: Baptist Health is dedicated to caring for moms and their babies. Many of our experienced OB/GYNs, neonatologists and nurses have extra training in obstetrics and newborn care. Our passion for our jobs is illustrated in the extra-special care we offer families. 
  • Research-based practices: We follow the science of what’s best for moms and babies. This is why we encourage kangaroo care and other research-backed practices, for the multiple benefits to mom and baby.
  • Focus on mom and baby bonding: We prioritize keeping moms and newborns together as a “couplet” (two-person team) as much as we can right after birth. The same nurse or nursing team will care for you both throughout labor and again during your postpartum (after birth) hospital stay.