Kangaroo care tips | Patient Education | UC Davis Children's Hospital

Kangaroo care tips for parents

Download Kangaroo Care Tips information sheet (PDF)

Mom and baby kangarro care

Kangaroo Care is a way to hold your baby against your chest with as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.

Benefits of holding your baby this way:

It improves your baby’s brain and motor growth, lowers their risk of infection, and improves weight gain.

As a parent, it lowers anxiety and depression, supports breastfeeding, and improves bonding.

  1. Ask your nurse if your baby is ready for Kangaroo Care.
    • If your baby isn’t ready, ask about other ways to get to know your baby, such as gentle touches or scent hearts.
  2. Make a plan with your nurse.
    • Ask about the best time and set a Kangaroo Date.
    • Sometimes it takes several people to help and advanced planning is important.
  3. Be prepared to snuggle for at least 45 minutes, or for as long as your baby tolerates.
  4. Come with an empty bladder and full tummy, and just after pumping.
  5. If you have a special support pillow, such as a breastfeeding pillow, bring that too.
    Dad and baby kangaroo care
  6. Wear clothing that can easily open up in front to allow for wonderful skin-to-skin contact.
  7. Your own scent is special to your baby. Do not cover it up.
    • Avoid any scented products. Perfumes, scented lotions, and smoke (cigarette or incense) are too strong for your baby.
  8. Don’t forget that Kangaroo Care is for Daddies too.
  9. This is a special time with your baby. It is best to leave siblings at home when visiting your baby in a hospital setting.