The mortality rate for babies born prematurely (babies born before gestational age reaches 37 weeks) and babies born with LBW (Low Birth Weight, under 2500 grams) is quite high. To reduce it, there is a treatment called the kangaroo method. Apart from being cheap, easy, and can be done at home, kangaroo care also has many benefits for mothers and babies.
The origin of the kangaroo method of care
As quoted from the page IDAI, Kangaroo treatment method was first introduced by Rey and Martinez in Bogota, Columbia in 1979. This method adapts the behavior of kangaroo animals to their newborn babies.
Kangaroo babies are born very prematurely and are usually stored in their mother’s abdominal pouch to prevent the baby from getting cold. This is also done at the same time to get milk from the mother.
This kangaroo behavior then forms the basis of this one method.
The kangaroo method has emerged as an alternative care for babies with LBW because of the high rate of LBW and limited health facilities, such as incubators for premature babies.
Please note that there are several treatments for premature babies that can be done.
Babies born with this condition should be placed in an incubator to receive further treatment before they can be brought home by the family.
That way, the kangaroo method is very useful for premature babies or LBW who are born in limited health facilities.
It should be noted that this method can be an alternative to an incubator in order to maintain the health of the newborn.
The benefits of kangaroo care
Research published by International Journal of Epidemiology demonstrated that kangaroo treatment was shown to reduce neonatal mortality among preterm infants with birth weights less than 2000 grams.
Kangaroo treatment has been shown to be effective in controlling the baby’s temperature, increasing breastfeeding, reducing infection, promoting growth and development of the baby, and establishing bonds between mother and baby.
Important aspects obtained from the treatment of this method include: kangaroo position, kangaroo nutrition, and kangaroo support.
The kangaroo position allows skin contact between mother and baby. This is useful for controlling the baby’s body temperature.
The mother’s skin can provide warmth to the baby so that the baby is protected from hypothermia.
Therefore, when doing kangaroo treatment, the baby only wears a diaper and is placed directly on the mother’s chest so that the baby’s skin and the mother’s skin touch each other.
Kangaroo nutrition can increase breastfeeding for babies because the kangaroo position is an ideal position for breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding a premature baby can be done through direct suction of the baby on the mother’s breast or by expressing breast milk.
Premature babies need adequate nutrition and this can only be met by breast milk. Therefore, pay attention to the importance of breast milk in premature babies because it is the best food for babies.
Kangaroo support can strengthen the bonding of mother and baby. This makes the baby inseparable from its mother. This method is also a form of physical, emotional, and psychological support to mother and baby.
Due to the easy practice, mothers who give birth to babies with premature characteristics are also advised to be able to do this method at home.
At least, do it until the baby’s condition is completely stable.
How to do this method?
The thing that must be considered in doing the kangaroo method is the position of the baby. Place the baby between the breasts of the mother, so that the breasts of mother and baby meet. The position of the baby close to the mother’s breast can stimulate milk production.
The baby’s head is turned to one side (right or left) and with a slight tilt,
It aims to keep the baby’s airway open and also to allow the baby and mother to make eye contact. The position of the arms and legs bent like a frog position.
When doing the kangaroo method, leave the baby naked, using only diapers, socks, and a hat. This is intended to increase the extent of skin contact that occurs between the baby and the mother.
Put the baby in the mother’s clothes and place it right on the mother’s chest so that skin contact occurs between mother and baby.
The position of the baby is then secured with a tie cloth or long cloth so that the baby does not fall while the mother is standing. Don’t tie the fabric too tight so the baby has enough breathing room.
Kangaroo method care should be done gradually and continuously. The longer the duration of doing this method, the better it is for the baby.
The kangaroo method, which is done in less than 60 minutes, can be stressful for babies because the changes that the baby feels are happening quickly.
We recommend that you do the kangaroo method continuously on babies with stable conditions.
Do it from morning to night and only cut off when the baby’s diaper needs to be changed, especially if there is no other way to control the baby’s temperature.
When the mother has to leave the baby, the baby can be covered with a warm blanket, or the father can also use this method.
Please note, this method is used until the baby reaches the womb of about 40 weeks or the baby weighs 2500 grams.
Can the kangaroo method improve bonding?
Although it is not certain what causes the baby to be born prematurely, there are various conditions that cause this condition as well as low baby weight.
Not only do you get special care from a doctor, you can also do the kangaroo method to increase the bond between parents and babies.
Skin contact between the child’s mother will trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother’s blood, causing a calm and drowsy sensation. Psychologically, this will make the mother more physically and mentally prepared to take care of her baby.
This kangaroo method also makes mothers feel more competent and more responsive to their babies, thereby increasing breastfeeding for babies compared to mothers who do not.
The mother’s skin has the same temperature as the uterus so the baby will feel warm and calm when it is on the mother’s chest.
That way, this method helps maintain the baby’s body temperature so that the baby doesn’t feel cold. This way the baby can also adjust to the outside environment more easily.
Moreover, babies can feel the mother’s heartbeat and feel the mother’s breath when held using the kangaroo method. This sensation is similar to when he was still in the womb. This certainly makes the baby feel calmer.
In addition, this method can also make the baby have a more normal heart rate and breathing. The comfort and serenity that this baby gets makes the baby cry less often after the first cry at birth.