A photo of a young boy and his father cuddling premature infants is going viral. The photo, which, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, was originally posted by a Danish family advocacy group, highlights the benefits of kangaroo care. It was reposted to Facebook by NINO Birth, an organization that aims to show what birth looks like based on neuroscience.
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Kangaroo are is a form of skin-to-skin contact, according to information on the Cleveland Clinic website. It involves a caretaker holding an infant, who is unclothed except for his or her diaper, on his or her chest. The big difference between kangaroo care and plain old skin-to-skin contact is that with kangaroo care, once the child is placed on a person’s bare chest, he or she is then covered with a blanket or shirt. This creates a pouch of sorts.
The practice originated in Uppsala, Sweden as a way for premature babies to bypass the incubator, according to NINO Birth. Swedish Professor Uwe Ewald said, according to NINO Birth, that babies born up to three months early can benefit from kangaroo care. He said that Kangaroo Care is better than putting a child in an incubator because the skin-to-skin contact has been proven to help infants breathe better, gain weight faster and soothe them. When a child received kangaroo care, he or she is also better able to fight off infections because he or she picks up his caretaker’s “bacterial flora.”