EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) - Las Palmas Medical Center is hosting a "Kangaroo-A-Thon" where mothers and fathers of NICU babies learn about the importance of skin-to-skin contact with their babies.
The "kangaroo care" involves parents holding their babies to their bodies. The process helps stimulate the infants in order to help them grow and flourish.
"It helps with the babies to stimulate them. It helps with moms with breastfeeding because you know we can't be there to breast feed them all the time," Breann Waterhouse, the mother of a NICU baby told us.
The skin-to-skin contact is highly encouraged by the nurses at Las Palmas NICU. "We emphasize to try to do at least an hour of skin-to-skin at a time to help stabilize the baby," NICU Nurse Melinda Gutierrez said.
"Research has shown that skin-to-skin is going to stabilize the heart rate, respiratory rate, they use less oxygen, they cry less so there's less stress for the baby."
The experience isn't just great for the baby, it's also extremely important for the parents. "It helps with stress for the mom's because they need that contact. We want that bonding with their babies since they're separated," Gutierrez said.
The nurses said all parents can benefit from the "kangaroo care," not just NICU babies. "Even at home, even if you don't have a NICU baby, skin-to-skin is the best thing you can do for a newborn and even not a premature baby," said Gutierrez.