Supporting NICU Moms: Kangaroo Care & Monitoring

Supporting NICU Moms: Kangaroo Care & Monitoring

Becoming a mother is an extraordinary journey filled with joy, challenges, and, sometimes, unexpected detours. For moms of babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the journey includes unique challenges that require additional support and resources. One effective practice for these mothers is kangaroo care, a method of holding a baby that involves skin-to-skin contact. When combined with careful monitoring of vital signs, kangaroo care can significantly benefit both the baby and the mother. This blog provides guidance for NICU moms on using kangaroo care and vital sign monitors to support their baby's health.

The Benefits of Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo care is not just a powerful way to bond with your baby; it's also proven to have remarkable health benefits. Research shows that kangaroo care can stabilize the baby's heart rate, improve oxygen saturation levels, and help maintain body temperature. It also promotes breastfeeding, encourages sleep, and can reduce crying. For mothers, it can increase milk production, encourage maternal-infant bonding, and reduce the risk of postpartum depression (1).

Monitoring Vital Signs During Kangaroo Care

While kangaroo care offers numerous benefits, monitoring your baby's vital signs remains crucial, especially for those who were premature or are still facing health challenges. Vital sign monitors designed for babies can track heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen levels, and temperature. These monitors can be particularly reassuring for NICU parents, providing real-time data that helps them feel connected to their baby's health status even during skin-to-skin contact.

Modern baby monitors have become incredibly advanced, offering not just audio but visual feedback and vital signs monitoring. They can alert you to any changes that may require attention, allowing for immediate action if necessary (2).

Practical Tips for Kangaroo Care and Monitoring

  1. Start Early: Begin kangaroo care as soon as medically possible. Consult with the NICU team to determine the right time.
  2. Consistent Schedule: Aim for regular kangaroo care sessions to provide consistent benefits to both you and your baby. Even short durations can be helpful.
  3. Use Appropriate Monitors: Select a baby monitor that is comfortable for your baby and does not interfere with skin-to-skin contact. Features to look for include small, wearable sensors and devices that offer remote monitoring.
  4. Seek Support: Don't hesitate to ask for help from NICU staff. They can guide you on how to position your baby safely and ensure the monitoring equipment is correctly set up.
  5. Record and Observe: Keep a log of your baby’s vital signs during kangaroo care sessions. Over time, you may notice patterns or improvements in their health data.

    Emotional Support and Community

    Finally, it's important for NICU moms to seek emotional support and connect with others who understand their experience. Many hospitals offer support groups for NICU parents, and online communities can also be a valuable resource. Sharing experiences, tips, and encouragement with other parents who understand the NICU journey can be incredibly comforting and helpful (3).


    1. Feldman R, Eidelman AI. "Skin-to-skin contact (Kangaroo Care) accelerates autonomic and neurobehavioural maturation in preterm infants," Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 2003. 
    2. Ludington-Hoe SM, Morgan K, Abouelfettoh A. "A Clinical Guideline for Implementation of Kangaroo Care With Premature Infants of 30 or More Weeks’ Postmenstrual Age," Advances in Neonatal Care, 2008.
    3. Cleveland LM. "Parenting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit," Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 2008. 
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