Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kangaroo Care


What is it? 

A universally available and biologically sound method of care for all newborns, but in particular for premature babies, with three components ...
1 Skin-to-skin Contact
2 Exclusive breastfeeding
3 Support to the mother infant dyad
"Invented" in 1979 - Dr Rey and Martinez started programme in Bogota, Colombia, in response to shortage of incubators and severe hospital infections.

The baby has a stable heart rate (no bradycardia), more regular breathing (a 75 percent decrease in apneic episodes), improved oxygen saturation levels, no cold stress, longer periods of sleep, more rapid weight gain, more rapid brain development, reduction of "purposeless" activity, decreased crying, longer periods of alertness, more successful breastfeeding episodes, and earlier hospital discharge. Benefits to the parents include "closure" over having a baby in NICU; feeling close to their babies (earlier bonding); having confidence that they can care for their baby, even better than hospital staff; gaining confidence that their baby is well cared for; and feeling in control—not to mention significantly decreased cost! (Midwifery Today)

Biologically, we know that the newborn is born with the skills and behaviours it needs to grow and be well, all it needs is to be undisturbed in skin-to-skin contact with mother, and it will breastfeed.

From evolutionary arguments we understand that the baby is extremely immature, and that its well-being is dependent on continuing its gestation in skin-to-skin contact with mother, and that the mothers milk is uniquely adapted top the immature gut.

Anthropology provides ample evidence that the behaviour we infer or deduce from biology and evolutionary arguments is in fact the normal behaviour for the human race: newborns and babies should be in constant contact with mother and should exclusively breastfeed.

Neurology can explain the mechanisms that we observe when baby is in skin-to-skin contact and when it is separated.

Physiology and research provides overwhelming evidence that Kangaroo Mother Care is not only safe, but superior.

For infants born too soon, being premature on top of being immature: continuing the gestation on mothers skin-to-skin contact and with breast milk is even more important than for fullterm infants.

The above contrasts starkly with twentieth century high technology practice, in which separation of mother and child is accepted as necessary and normal.

Separation is common, but abnormal and harmful.

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