Kangaroo Care: Unique way for biological fathers and non birth parents to make a bond with the newborn baby

A study by kangaroo Care has mentioned that when a newborn baby arrives, the father starts feeling himself outside that circle. Through this therapy all the non-born parents including the father get attached to him.

The tradition of encouraging a child to be placed directly on their chest for fathers or non-birth parents immediately after birth is increasingly being adopted. This skin-to-skin contact is often called “kangaroo care”, as it mimics the way kangaroos provide warmth and protection to their babies. Mothers have been encouraged to provide kangaroo care for decades. Skin-to-skin contact with the newborn is now considered important for biological fathers and non-birth parents, given the improved impact of emotional behavior. 

How does kangaroo care works? 

Co-author Qiaxia Dong at the University of South Australia, who is researching the same topic, found that it not only provides a sense of emotional security to the newborn, but also affects the parents. He found in his study that “Kangaroo care reduces stress in the father. At the same time it strengthens the bond between father and child. When studying for the first time fathers, it was found that during childbirth.” They have high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)When newborns were exposed to skin-to-skin contact with those fathers, their cortisol levels decreased. Not only this, his blood pressure was also controlled. Also a significant reduction in responses to physical stress was observed. 

Qiuxia Dong conducted a study on ‘Exploring the Experiences of the Father of a Child’ in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in both Adelaide and Taiwan. The study found that fathers who had established skin-to-skin contact with the newborn. A better relationship and attachment was established between them. It also had a positive effect on the self-confidence and self-esteem of the father.

One of the fathers involved in the study shared his experience saying When I put the baby on my chest, I really started feeling calm from within. There is always some work in my mind, but when I hugged him, I suddenly became calm. An unknown happiness began to be felt from within. Just like an untold conversation started between me and my child. Another father said that as soon as he hugged the child, he nodded a little at first. I think he calmed down and fell asleep as soon as I smelled it. This experience is very nice. I also felt that this moment was very comfortable for both of us. However, this process is also challenging for fathers as it is a time-consuming process. So it is not possible all the time. 

Involving both parents

One study noted that when a newborn baby arrives, the father begins to feel himself outside that circle. Through this therapy all the non-born parents including the father get attached to him. If a caesarean birth makes it difficult for the mother to care for a kangaroo while in the theatre, the father or the non-giving parent is the next most accurate person to do so. 

Need for more research

After research from various backgrounds it was concluded that more extensive research is needed in this. It is also particularly important to look at the experiences of fathers and other non-birth parents from culturally diverse backgrounds.

[by Mary Stein, University of South Australia]

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