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Kangaroo-a-thon kicks off in NICU, promotes infant health

Kangaroo-a-thon kicks off in NICU, promotes infant health

Piedmont Columbus Regional’s third annual Kangaroo-a-thon is underway. The two-week event began on Monday, May 14.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A SHORT VIDEO ABOUT THE EVENT.

The “kangaroo” method of care highlights the importance of close contact between a mother and baby. It mimics the way a kangaroo holds her baby in her pouch. The care method is the practice of mothers holding babies skin to skin to improve the health of infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The goal for this year’s event is to log 400 hours of kangaroo cuddle time. One week into the event, they are at 180 hours.

Benefits of kangaroo care include:

  • Helping the baby adapt to body temperature
  • Boosting baby’s mental development
  • Promoting healthy weight
  • Making breastfeeding easier
  • Helping mothers make milk
  • Reducing baby’s stress and pain
  • Helping babies sleep better
  • Promoting bonding with parents
  • Preventing postpartum depression

Kangaroo care came about as a response to the high death rate in preterm babies seen in South America in the late 1970s. There, the death rate for premature infants was 70 percent. The babies were dying of infections, respiratory problems and simply due to lack of attention. Researchers found that babies who were held close to their mothers' bodies for large portions of the day not only survived, but thrived.

Piedmont Columbus Regional’s Midtown Campus is home to a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, one of only six perinatal centers in Georgia. Embracing kangaroo care is another way we promote healthy babies in our community.