Kangaroo care found to be beneficial for full-term babies

It’s long been regarded as a way to nurture premature babies but kangaroo care has been found to be beneficial for full-term babies too.

Also known as skin-to-skin contact, kangaroo care involves placing a baby on their mother’s chest for the first few hours after birth. There, the infant is covered in a blanket and examined. It is believed doing this creates an immediate bond between mother and baby.

"The baby gets landed in a trusting environment," Dr Larry Gray from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where this technique is routinely practised, tells NPR.

It reassures the newborn that life outside the womb can be "soft, comfortable and warm" he adds. A small study even found pain is more easily tolerated when this technique is appliedm making examination that much easier.

Dr Lydia Kyung-Min Lee, an ob-gyn at UCLA, agrees the benefits of this technique are plentiful with the baby happier and their vital signs normalising quicker, something Gray believes the mother helps by “programming the baby, the breathing, temperature and heart rate."

He says this is particularly true for sick newborns, with just a small amount of skin to skin contact time proving beneficial.