The Science of Touch Through Kangaroo Mother Care

The Need to Touch and Be Touched

It is said that to touch and be touched is a basic need that every human being needs. It has ben said that touch is equally important as shelter and food; whilst touch also helps stimulates brain function and activity. More so, a touch is said to communicate emotions faster than gestures; while it is also known to release hormones called oxytocin and to reduce cortisol. The former is known to help in the creation of specific sensations that leads to trust while the latter is a hormone associated to the creation of stress.

Studies show that children who are deprived of touch lack emotional stability and can grow up and develop social problems. Needless to say, children who grow up lacking emotional security will not fully thrive physically or mentally as well as those children that do. Based on these reasons and many other known benefits, touch is one of the essential components of Kangaroo Mother Care.

KMC Healing Touch

KMC is not only recommended for infants with preemie, low birth weighs and full-term infants. As the term suggests, it mimics the way a Kangaroo holds and protects her joey, by providing warmth and comfort in the safety of her pouch. While for human mothers, an infant is positioned on her chest in between her bosoms.

Positioning the infant in this way makes skin-to-skin contact touching possible. It is suggested that a mother of full term baby's can perform KMC for at least an hour a day everyday or as the infant will tolerate it. It follows that a mother holding and touching her infant longer and more frequent helps release her infant's oxytocin hormones thereby enhancing their sense of security. Fathers and other family members can perform Kangaroo Mother Care. In fact, it is highly recommended.

Aside from this, holding your infant close the Kangaroo Mother Care way has been shown to be more effective than using an incubator. Infants born prematurely develop faster if held and caressed regularly and through KMC they maintain body temperature. Research has also shown that untouched babies develop an alternative way on combating or releasing stress. Thus, it can eventually lead to various medical or even psychological problems later on like sleep disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder and other conditions.

KMC is also a safe and free method of caring for your newborn. There are no known negative effects of providing this type of motherly care; rather it only has positive effects such as:

• Your baby held as long as they will tolerate helps your infant breastfeed more often as compared to babies who are not receiving this care.
• Your baby gains more weigh faster and this could also mean early hospital discharge.
• Preemies or babies born prematurely have weak immune systems that could lead to infections. Kangaroo Mother Care has been proven to improve your infant's immunity thereby saving your infant from enduring infections, allergies, and other complications.
• Performing this helps regulate your infant's bodily temperature. Your body can adjust to what your infant needs.
• Holding your baby close to your chest synchronizes the rhythm of your heart beat to that of your infant's. Thus, it is cited as a possible reason why babies who are given Kangthis care have more regular and normal heartbeats than those who have not given Kangaroo Mother Care and are in incubators.
• Babies with breathing problems are also relieved after receiving Kangaroo Mother Care; and the same goes if babies experience sleeping problems. Mothers and infants synchronize their sleeping rhythm.