Skin-to-skin contact by parents with their newborn baby, or “kangaroo care,” has been shown to be very beneficial for infants. Typically, the mother or father places the baby – who is naked except for a diaper – in an upright position under his or her shirt.
“Studies have shown this type of contact is especially helpful for preterm babies,” says Beverly L. Brown, MD, FAAP, pediatrician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “It stabilizes the baby’s heart rate, improves his breathing pattern and helps him sleep and gain weight. It is remarkable how the simple act of cuddling with and paying attention to a baby can help him thrive.”
Kangaroo care can also help parents of healthy newborns bond with their babies. The skin-to-skin contact can increase a mother’s milk supply, boost parents’ confidence in their ability to care for their child and help calm the infant.
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