2017 International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day – Bulgaria

by Nina Nikolova, Bulgaria

“On the 15 of May The first Bulgarian foundation “Our Premature Children” marks the beginning of the International  Kangaroo Care Awareness Day in Bulgaria.
Kangaroo-care is a key element of family-centered care and the most effective way to involve parents in the care of their babies, with the most proven benefits. The World Health Organization recommends kangaroo-care (prolonged skin-to-skin contact) for all babies where it is medically possible.
Kangaroo care has not yet been practice in Bulgaria so far. Our goal is to change this and to bring the care of premature babies and sick newborns close to European Standards and good care recommendations.
We have asked the Bulgarian neonatology wards to become our partner in this initiative by announcing the 15th of May an open day for all parents to the NICU’s. More than 12 UNITS all around the country agreed to open their units for the parents. And enjoy the International kangaroo care awareness day.
In Bulgaria in some units the parents are allow to visit their kids few time per week and only for a few minutes. Very often the parents and the babies are separated for a long period of time, some stay in the hospital.”

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2017 International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day – London, UK

International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day

May 15th 2017

Today we celebrated Kangaroo Care Awareness Day on Starlight Neonatal Unit, Barnet Hospital, Royal Free NHS Trust.

We are a 30 bed, level 2 unit, in London, UK.  We are proud of the family centred, neurprotective care that we provide to the babies and families that we serve.

Today we celebrated Kangaroo Care Awareness Day by baking biscuits, handing out articles on the benefits of Kangaroo Care and practicing safe kangaroo care transfers.  But perhaps the best moment was when our matron surprised us all by dressing up as a kangaroo and came quietly bounding on to our unit.

Tonight we will run our monthly supper club, where we are cooking for all the families, offering massages to the parents from our excellent massage volunteer and providing information on the wonders of kangaroo care, in a short presentation and demonstration.

Happy Kangaroo Care Day 2017

Emily Hills

Neonatal Occupational Therapist

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10 Point Checklist for Baby’s Safe Positioning During Kangaroo Care

Kangaroo Position (World Health Organization)
Kangaroo Position (World Health Organization)

Positioning during Kangaroo Care is just as important as positioning on the bed.  Here is our 10 Point Checklist for Baby’s Safe Positioning During Kangaroo Care

  1. Baby is between the parent’s bare breasts, and wearing only diaper (no higher than the belly button). Socks may be worn if the room is too cold. A hat is a must for babies weighing less than 1000 grams.
  2. Baby is strictly vertical and skin-to-skin/chest-to-chest with the parent.
  3. Baby’s head and spine are mid-aligned for proper breathing and comfort.
  4. Legs are flexed and in frog position.
  5. Feet are flexed and toes facing outward.
  6. Arms are flexed to each side and hands are up and by the head
  7. Cover the baby’s back up to the bottom of the baby’s earlobe
  8. Head is in midline and in lateral position and face, nose and mouth are uncovered, unobstructed, and in constant view.
  9. Parent lowers the head and kisses the top of her baby’s head.
  10. Parent is sitting up or reclined (never horizontal, or prone).

  11. Both parent and baby are being watched/ monitored during kangaroo care.
Resting in KC (World Health Organization)
Resting in KC (World Health Organization)

Benefits of Kangaroo Care

Benefits for the parents include:

  • Enhanced attachment and bonding (Tessier et al., 1998).
  • Resilience and feelings of confidence, competence, and satisfaction regarding baby care (Tessier et al., 1998; Conde Agudelo, Diaz Rossello, & Belizan, 2003; Kirsten, Bergman, & Hann, 2001).
  • Increased milk volume, doubled rates of successful breastfeeding and increased duration of breastfeeding (Mohrbacher & Stock, 2003).
  • Profoundly beneficial for adoptive parents with critically ill preterm infants (Parker L, Anderson GC. , 2002).

Benefits for the babies include:

  • Kangaroo Care reduces neonatal mortality (Conde-Agudelo et al, 2011).
  • Lessens incidence and severity of infection (Charpak N, Ruiz-Pelaez JG, Figuero de Calume Z, Charpak Y., 1997).
  • Accelerated autonomic and neurobehavioral development (Feldman R, Eidelman, 2003).
  • Promotes self-regulation in premature infants: sleep wake cyclicity, arousal modulation, and sustained exploration (Feldman R, Weller A, Sirota L, Eidelman A., 2002).
  • Consistently high and stable oxygen saturation levels, lower airway resistance, fewer apnea episodes, and an increased percentage of quiet sleep (Ludington- Hoe, Ferreira, & Goldstein, 1998).
  • Stable temperature within normal thermal zone, heart rate, and respiratory rate (Ludington-Hoe et al., 2010).
  • Reduced crying associated with painful procedures (Kostandy R, Ludington-Hoe SM, 2008).
  • Breast milk is readily available and accessible, and strengthens the infant’s immune system.
  • The maternal contact causes a calming effect with decreased stress and rapid quiescence (McCain, Ludington-Hoe, Swinth, & Hadeed, 2005; Charpak et el., 2005).
  • Reduced physiological and behavioral pain responses (Ludington-Hoe, Hosseini, & Torowicz, 2005).
  • Increased weight gain (Charpak, Ruiz-Pelaez, & Figueroa, 2005).
  • Enhanced attachment and bonding (Tessier et al., 1998).
  • Positive effects on infant’s cognitive development (Feldman, Eidelman, Sirota, & Weller, 2002).
  • Less nosocomial infection, severe illness, or lower respiratory tract disease (Conde-Argudelo, et. al., 2003).
  • Restful sleep (Ludington-Hoe et al., 2006).
  • Earlier hospital discharge (London et al., 2006).
  • Reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (see www.infactcanada.ca).
  • Normalized infant growth of premature infants (Charpak, Ruiz-Pelaez, & Figueroa, 2005).
  • Good intervention for colic (Ellett, Bleah, & Parris, 2002).
  • Possible positive effects in motor development of infants (Penalva & Schwartzman, 2006).
  • The critical stimuli to which the baby is exposed during KC are:
    Vestibular: the chest movement of the breathing of the parent and walking (if allowed)
    Tactile: the skin and natural warmth of the parent on the bottom (chest), on the sides (breast of mother), and the back (Kangaroo Zak™)
    Olfactory: the scent of the parent and the maternal breast milk.
    Auditory: by the voices and heartbeat of the parent.

What is the Kangaroo Zak?

The Kangaroo Zak™ is the only device designed with the sole objective of facilitating safe, prolonged, and effective kangaroo care sessions in the NICU and post-partum.

It provides comfort to the baby and virtually eliminates the risk of accidental falls and slipping that causes dislodging of medical equipment. It also facilitates immediate access to the baby in case of emergency and is the only device in the market that facilitates hands-free holding regardless of the size of the baby.

During this continuous contact, the baby (and parent) can reach deep sleep necessary to heal, grow, and develop .

The Kangaroo Zak™ is a soft, breathable, stretchy and strapless top made with natural fibers that wraps around the torso of the adult and closes on the side with a zipper.

Two adjustable sizes are available: Size 1 adjusts to Small / Medium / Large and Size 2 adjusts to XL / 2XL / 3XL.

The Kangaroo Zak is patented and successfully incorporates ergonomic principles with the philosophy of the Kangaroo Care Method to provide the most effective environment for the baby and for the parent so that the sessions are safe and prolonged and the benefits and results maximized.

Made for babies in the hospital (babies at home can only use the Kangaroo Zak with the proper training and instructions from the professional) NICU and post-partum.

Results achieved by the consistent use of the Kangaroo Zak to facilitate Kangaroo Care:

  • Supports neurobehavioral organization and physiologic stability of the preterm infant.
  • Improve maternal breast feeding outcomes.
  • Reduce infant and maternal stress.
  • Support family centered care.
  • All the benefits of Kangaroo Care in a consistent, safe, and effective manner.

The Kangaroo Zak ™ was designed by Yamile Jackson, a PhD in ergonomics and human factors engineering and a kangaroo mother herself. Since 2010, she has been certified as a Kangaroo Caregiver Professional and is currently an instructor for the Kangaroo Care Certification Course offered by the United States Institute for Kangaroo Care.