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Helping Parents Bond with their Newborns

May 16, 2018

(San Antonio – May, 2018) - The women’s services team at Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio recently took part in a “Kangaroo-a-thon” in an effort to encourage bonding between newborns and parents. Kangaroo Care is a practice that is used to improve the emotional, mental and physical health of newborns. It involves holding a baby skin-to-skin, against the parent's chest. Babies who kangaroo appear to relax and become content. Several studies show that Kangaroo Care has many health benefits, including: decreased stress, accelerated mental and motor development, keeps babies at the warmest and safest temperature, higher blood oxygen levels, improved sleep, improved breastfeeding and improved weight gain.

Kangaroo Care helps parents too. Moms and dads who kangaroo their newborns feel close to their baby. Mothers who kangaroo show improved breast milk production. Many of these effects in parents and babies are because skin-to-skin contact increases levels of oxytocin, a hormone that naturally causes milk release as well as feelings of relaxation and connection.

The Kangaroo-a-thon took place in May in honor of Kangaroo Care recognition day, which is May 15 each year. All team members were encouraged to participate by helping to educate parents on the benefits of holding their babies skin-to-skin as much as possible. Northeast Baptist Hospital Women’s Services Director Mandi Wheeler says the results are always gratifying. “This is something we can do to improve the lives of our patients in a very meaningful and lasting way,” says Wheeler. “It is so rewarding to see the joy that Kangaroo Care brings to our parents and the comfort it brings their babies.”

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