Newborns, such tiny and fragile, require special attention and care, careful handling and exceptional accuracy. Even if the baby appeared in a timely manner, its muscular system is not yet developed enough to maintain optimal body position, protecting itself from injuries and injuries. What can we say about premature babies, whose weight sometimes barely reaches the kilogram? Such crumbs need not just careful care – they are nursed in a hospital and the shorter the gestational period, the longer and more through the work of the doctors will be. And although the bulk of the trouble during this period falls on the shoulders of the medical staff, young parents can also help the newborn to quickly adapt to new conditions, get stronger and gain weight. One of the most common methods of nursing premature babies in the first months of their lives is the kangaroo method. What is this technique and what results should we expect from it? Experienced neonatologists will share the secrets of effective nursing newborns that appeared before the due date.
What does a kangaroo pose like? Features of the kangaroo method
The kangaroo method borrowed from the animal world implies a long-term skin-to-skin contact between the newborn and one of the parents. In this way, female kangaroos nurture their babies, which are born literally tiny (about 2-3 centimeters), and for another six months are in a bag on the mother’s belly, where they grow and gain strength to continue their independent life.
Such an impact contributes to the formation of the work of the internal organs of the crumbs, helps him to calm down, to feel the warmth and safety of his native, which he lost unnecessarily early. The kangaroo method is shown primarily for premature babies, but nothing prevents the mothers of newborns, who were born on time, from adopting this practice, because they also need warmth and a sense of security.
Since in most cases premature babies are in stationary conditions, it depends on the hospital order whether parents will be able to organize nursing through the kangaroo method. Ideally, if the separation regime provides at least several hours for communication between young parents and the newborn patient, during which the baby does not need to do any manipulations and once again disturb him with outside intervention.
In the ward where daily meetings take place, there should be a soft chair or at least a comfortable chair in which the parent can take a reclining position. Proper furniture, in this case, is of paramount importance – in this position, you will have to sit for a few hours, so it is advisable to settle down with maximum comfort, because a sore back, numb muscles, and constant adult anxiety will in no way help the newborn to relax.
After the parent has taken a comfortable position, a baby is laid on the bare chest. Contact “skin to skin” implies that the child will be naked, but for long sessions, it is worth dressing the crumbs in pampers and bonnet – so you do not have to be interrupted by unforeseen “accidents”. Usually, the child fits on the tummy, however, the position “on the side” is acceptable – in this case, everything is considered individually. And in order to maintain an optimal microclimate, the back of the crumbs are covered with a diaper or blanket.
The time allotted for the kangaroo method can vary from several minutes to several hours – it all depends on the well-being and condition of the newborn. The first sessions should be conducted under the strict supervision of the medical staff – it is important that when the child is out of the hood, the vital signs of the child remain normal. To do this, special sensors can be attached to the newborn, assessing the heartbeat and blood oxygen saturation in real time. At the slightest deviation, the kangaroo method will have to be interrupted in order to give the crumbs timely assistance.
Most often, new mothers practice the kangaroo method – it is for them that they have the closest possible physical contact with the newborn, which had only recently been in the womb. However, there are no restrictions for participation in such nursing of the father, because the main thing is for the crumb to feel caring and warm, and from which of the parents it comes – not so fundamentally. During the session, you can gently stroke the baby on the head, in a quiet voice, sing songs or tell fairy tales – in short, do everything possible so that he feels as comfortable and calmer as possible. The success of the kangaroo method depends primarily on this.
Use of body contact
Statistics show that the kangaroo method is extremely effective in nursing weakened, premature, low birth weight infants in the first months of life. Close contact with parents helps the systems of a small body to “ripen” and adapt to the stressful environmental conditions. Moreover, such an impact is no less significant than qualified medical care, as evidenced by the numerous advantages of the method:
- The newborn feels the natural warmth of the mother, familiar to him through intrauterine life. The familiar smells, the rhythmic beat of the parental heart and the immense love help him in a relaxed atmosphere to begin an acquaintance with the surrounding world and adapt to the hospital environment.
- It is proved that with bodily contact, the ripening of the nervous system and the thermoregulation of the crumbs go several times faster. A child raised by the kangaroo method gains weight better, is less naughty, forms more quickly and is active.
- Thus, there occurs a natural colonization of the skin and mucous membranes of the newborn by related microflora, which is natural and therefore optimal for the forming organism.
- The pleasant smell of the mother, her melodious voice, the rhythmic beat of the heart helps the baby to develop the senses, to form an emotional connection, to feel the infinite love and strong affection. These feelings are responsible for the formation of the personal qualities of the child from the moment of birth.
- Studies show that in this position the child feels more protected, due to which his pain threshold increases. That is why many nurses try to carry out painful manipulations (for example, blood sampling or injections) in the presence of parents – their warmth will help the crumbs to cope with unpleasant sensations.
However, the advantages of the kangaroo method affect not only the baby but also its newly-made parents:
- The kangaroo method allows the mother to take part in nursing a newborn, share her warmth and care with him, establish a close relationship and “communicate” the unexpectedly interrupted pregnancy.
- Prolonged contact stimulates lactation, which is especially important if the baby cannot yet suck breast. Thanks to this, Mommy can save HBs while the child is in the hospital to continue full-fledged natural feeding at home.
- During bodily contact with the baby, the hormone oxytocin is secreted in the woman’s body, which contributes to the reduction of the uterus and allows for faster recovery after childbirth.
Despite the indisputable benefit of the kangaroo method, it is far from permissible to use it in every case. How prepared the newborn is to such a contact, the attending physician assesses in a comprehensive manner: it is extremely dangerous to get some weakened crumbs out of the incubator, so interaction with parents should be postponed. In addition, one should not continue contacts by the kangaroo method, if during or after skin-to-skin contact the baby’s condition worsens – indicators of heartbeat and respiration sensors will indicate this. You should not take such a ban as an immutable credo – after some time, the condition of the newborn can stabilize, it will get stronger, and the doctor will change the decision in favor of sharing the care with parents.
In addition, there are a number of medical contraindications that prohibit such activities. These include:
- An infectious disease of a child characterized by an extremely severe course;
- intraventricular hemorrhage in the crumbs;
- The presence of difficult to install and poorly fixed catheters;
- Any disease of viral or bacterial etiology in parents that can be transmitted to an already weakened little one.
In any case, the question of the possibility of physical contact by the method of kangaroo should be decided individually together with a neonatologist who has engaged in nursing a small patient – only he can assess the degree of risk and predict how safe the baby can leave the appliance.
How to keep the baby after discharge?
After the newborn gets stronger and will overtake his peers in physical development, he is usually sent home for further nursing. However, this does not mean that the kangaroo method can and should be interrupted – such contact will be equally useful for the child until he learns to roll over on his own in order to explore the world outside the comfort zone.
Once home, the young mother will be much easier to organize kangaroo nursing – no longer have to adapt to the hospital regime, feel constrained in an uncomfortable chair under the watchful attention of the medical staff, which means you can fully enjoy bodily contact with the baby. Gradually, you can increase the time devoted to the crumbs, up to several hours, or even more. And in order not to sacrifice household chores, it is worthwhile to master the wearing of newborns in special slings, which will help keep the baby in a horizontal position.
It does not matter at all how much the newborn is fully matured and formed, at first it will, in any case, be uncomfortable in the new conditions for itself, and the task of the parents is to ensure that it is as calm and painless as possible. With the help of the kangaroo method, you will help the little one to establish contact with the outside world, let you feel the warmth of parental love and care, provide the proper level of security and comfort!
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