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Caring for premature babies
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Skin-on-skin contact

Skin-on-skin contact

Many World Health Organization studies have shown that the ‘kangaroo’ way of carrying your baby (where the baby is naked against his mother or father’s skin) has a positive effect on the baby. Extremely premature babies will be more stable metabolically and breathe more easily.

This first came about in Colombia, where it was difficult or impossible to incubate premature babies. The WHO advises that you should have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as possible for long periods of time (at least an hour a day), breastfeed your baby, and when he/she is well enough to leave hospital the kangaroo method should still be used.

Babies who have skin-to-skin contact with their parents leave hospital sooner, although if there are serious medical problems it may not be possible for you.

Intubated babies can still have skin-to-skin contact with their parents and this is encouraged: one problem with premature birth is that the mother feels helpless and detached from her baby, but this shouldn’t be the case.   


Sarah Horrocks
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