Kangaroo Care Is Beneficial for Babies of All Ages, Says New Study

mom holding baby
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Listen up, parents, because I've got some important health information that you need to know about your baby:

Snuggling is now officially good for your baby's health. 

Who knew, right? But seriously, here's what you need to know about the science behind holding your baby. 

The Right Way To Hold Your Baby

Many of us have heard of kangaroo care, an important way to help newborn babies and especially premature babies grow and thrive, but a new study showed that skin-to-skin contact between a parent and baby is important for all babies. 

The new study, instead of only looking at premature babies or babies that didn't weigh enough at birth, specifically looked at babies of all sizes and age. And what they found? Is that all babies can benefit from skin-to-skin contact with mom or dad. 

Babies that received the kangaroo care -- either through laying directly on their mother's bare chest or with a blanket around them like a little "pouch" -- had a 23 percent decreased neonatal death rate, as well as lowered risk of infections. The babies held skin-to-skin also had more stable temperatures, cried less, showed less physical symptoms of pain, and were even hospitalized less with complications. 

All in all? A pretty good show of support for the importance of skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies. 

What This Means For You

The study didn't find a specific number of hours or time that a baby needed to be held skin-to-skin, so don't worry about reaching a specific timeframe for holding your baby on your chest. Instead, try to take advantages of little moments throughout the day to snuggle your infant on your chest. For example, you might try:

  • Snuggling after bath time -- you can even drape a towel over your little one to keep him or her warm and prevent any accidents (because you know it will happen!)
  • Taking advantage of feeding time -- if you're breastfeeding, you're probably already getting lots of skin-to-skin time with your little one, but you can take advantage of that closeness even more by extending feeding time or snuggling the baby on your chest when he or she is done eating. If you're bottle or formula feeding, consider opening your shirt a little to let the baby snuggle while she's eating or burp the baby when he's done skin-to-skin. 
  • Soak up that newborn stage -- there's nothing like holding a sleeping newborn on your chest and if your babies are anything like mine, they will spend lots of time in those first few weeks snoozing while you snuggle them. Just to be sure to practice safe sleeping practices with your little one and never sleep with your baby. 
  • Involve your partner -- It's important to get everyone involved in the baby snuggles and don't forget to encourage your partner to practice skin-to-skin with your baby too! A quality baby wrap can come in handy here to encourage lots of time together and allow hands-free sandwich making too. You know, just in case, you get hungry. 
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