Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NY Times on kangaroo care

A NY Times piece on kangaroo care, from their Fixes blog:

The babies stay warm, their own temperature regulated by the sympathetic biological responses that occur when mother and infant are in close physical contact. The mother’s breasts, in fact, heat up or cool down depending on what the baby needs. The upright position helps prevent reflux and apnea. Feeling the mother’s breathing and heartbeat helps the babies to stabilize their own heart and respiratory rates. They sleep more. They can breastfeed at will, and the constant contact encourages the mother to produce more milk. Babies breastfeed earlier and gain more weight. ...

Dr. Rey took a challenge that most people would assume requires more money, personnel and technology and solved it in a way that requires less of all three. I am not a romantic who wants to abandon modern medical care in favor of traditional solutions. People with AIDS in South Africa need antiretroviral therapy, not traditional healers’ home brews. If you are bitten by a cobra in India, you should not go to the temple. You should go to the hospital for antivenin. Modern medical care is essential and technology very often saves lives.

Kangaroo care, however, is modern medical care, by which I mean that its effectiveness is proven in randomized controlled trials — the strongest kind of evidence. And because it is powered by the human body alone, it is theoretically available to hundreds of millions of mothers who would otherwise have no hope of saving their babies.

Read the rest here.

I felt somewhat sad reading this because we had a meeting at work recently about feeding in the NICU and the nurses were saying that because of new bubble CPAP machines, it's becoming harder and harder to do any kangaroo care with many babies in our NICU. This photo illustrates why - it is difficult to position the baby in any way but with its head supported from behind. We were trying brainstorm ways to have baby facing out, although I don't think that would be as nice for the parents. Does anyone have experience with kangaroo care + bulky CPAP?

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