I heard an amazing story on the news, about a set of Australian twins born prematurely at twenty-seven weeks. The boy twin, Jamie, was in poor condition and doctors struggled to resuscitate him for twenty minutes before telling his parents that he would not make it. Sadly, the mother held him to her bare chest and cuddled him for two hours to say goodbye. And then apparently, a miracle happened. The baby began to stir and show signs of life, and is now a flourishing five-month-old. The mother claims that kangaroo care - skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby - helped bring her baby back to life.
Doctors seem a little bit leery of confirming that kangaroo care is a miraculous cure, but the story is bringing attention to the practice of kangaroo care. It's one of those rare medical treatments that has no drawbacks or side-effects and is actually pleasurable. When my twins were born at 36 weeks, one of the girls had difficulty maintaining her body temperature and the doctor prescribed kangaroo care. She was undressed down to her diaper and given to me to hold under my hospital gown, skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest. What a lovely moment that was! I think it has particular benefit for mothers of multiples because it promotes parent/baby bonding and is such a simple and easy way to experience some one-on-one bonding with each baby. Dad can do kangaroo care too! The benefits for babies are not in doubt; the American Academy of Pediatrics identifies many advantages, including warmth, stability of heartbeat and breathing, increased time spent in the deep sleep and quiet alert states, decreased crying, increased weight gain, and increased breastfeeding.
Did you experience kangaroo care with your multiples? Leave a comment to share your story.