Phoebe NICU Nurses Encourage Parents to Hold Babies with Kangaroo-a-Thon

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Skin-to-skin contact is beneficial to all newborn babies, but it’s especially important for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, many of whom are born prematurely. This month Phoebe is holding its first ever Kangaroo-a-Thon to promote “kangaroo” care or skin-to-skin contact for infants. Physicians and nurses are promoting, encouraging and raising awareness for kangaroo care’s extensive benefits for both parents and their infants.
“We wanted to do something fun to help raise awareness of kangaroo care and its many benefits for newborns and their parents,” said Mallorie Albright, RN, Team Leader of Lactation Services at Phoebe. “Bonding can be difficult when you have a baby in the NICU. Normal instinct might be to leave them alone and not touch them, but we try to encourage parents to hold their baby and get them out of bed.”
Kangaroo care is a method of holding a baby, naked except for a diaper, against a parent’s chest, essentially skin-to-skin contact. Studies show it can help newborn babies regulate their body temperature, heart rate, and respiratory function while also building a strong bond with their parents. Because of its health benefits, kangaroo care is promoted year-round at Phoebe.
Jasmine Lumpkin’s son Emanuel was only 2 lbs. 1 oz. when he was born just 6 weeks ago. Now, he weighs 3 lbs 12 oz. and she credits his weight gain to kangaroo care. "The skin-to-skin is something I've done every day since I've been able to hold him and I feel like it makes us closer. He is stronger because of it,” says Jasmine.
As long as the infant is stable, Phoebe staff encourages parents to have skin-to-skin contact with their newborn as much as possible. If the baby’s vitals are not stable and the baby cannot get out of bed, staff teach the parents how to do therapeutic touch which provides similar benefits to skin-to-skin contact.