Kangaroo care begins at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital

Staff report

ST. MARYS — The staff in the Birthing Center at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital is excited to launch their Kangaroo Care initiative on July 1.

Kangaroo Care is a special way a mother holds her newborn infant starting at birth and continuing through the postpartum period. The naked infant is placed on the mother’s bare chest immediately after birth or as soon as possible. This skin to skin contact is then continued until after the first successful feeding, which typically occurs within the first hour after delivery.

Kangaroo Care for full term infants was first implemented in the early 1970’s in Cleveland, Ohio, to promote bonding. Recent national guidelines from the Neonatal Resuscitation Program, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American Academy of Family Physicians recommend implementation of Kangaroo Care within one-minute of birth.

Strong evidence has demonstrated that Kangaroo Care, also known as “skin-to-skin contact,” is the recommended practice to facilitate the transition for a newborn after delivery. Skin to skin contact provides temperature and blood sugar control, promote sleep and development, minimize pain perception and crying, and increase breastfeeding in the healthy term infant in the delivery room. Kangaroo Care also minimizes pain perception, postpartum bleeding, increases bonding, confidence and affectionate behaviors, and increases all measures of breastfeeding, including milk production, initiation, duration and exclusivity in mothers.

It has been our practice in The Birthing Center at Joint Township to get newborns skin to skin with their moms right away after delivery for quite some time. This new Kangaroo Care initiative offers us more guidance in the evidence based approach, promoting a practice that ensures mom and baby reap all the amazing benefits of skin to skin care.

The nursing staff and providers have undergone training and education on Kangaroo Care and are excited to launch this initiative on July 1 for all our healthy term and near term infants who require routine care following delivery. The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Hospital Association’s First Steps to Healthy Babies program has identified skin to skin contact as an important method of improving breastfeeding success. This launching of Kangaroo Care at The Birthing Center at Joint Township District Memorial is another opportunity to ensure we are providing our new moms and babies with the best start possible.

Staff report