Written by our volunteer, LeighAnn
One of the most tender practices done by the staff and volunteers here at the Dew Drops Little Flower homes is kangaroo care. When a premature baby arrives in our care, after the initial checkup, a caregiver will remove the baby’s clothes and place the child inside one of the caregiver’s shirts. The baby will cozy up and typically fall asleep. The practice gets its name from the pouch like atmosphere created by the shirt or blanket placed over the baby’s back similar to the pouch on a mama kangaroo.
Multiple research studies have been done regarding kangaroo care and they all agree on its benefits. The practice helps stabilize the baby’s heart rate, regulate their breathing, improve oxygen saturation, and more! The direct skin-to-skin contact will help regulate the baby’s body temperature allowing them to save their calories and grow. Some NICU’s in the US will have the mother or father do kangaroo care a few hours each day when the child is staying there to help the baby reap the benefits and give the parent and child a chance to do some bonding*.
I got the chance to do kangaroo care when little Xin came to us. He was tiny, a little less than 5lbs. He was recovering from his first GI surgery and just needed some love. When Lily came in and asked if I would like to do Kangaroo Care with him, I was so excited! I got comfortable on the bed and then they brought him in. We got him all cozied up in my shirt and he fell asleep right away. Xin has a small heart defect and was struggling with his oxygen saturation levels when he first arrived. We did kangaroo care for about an hour and kept an eye on his levels but saw that he really just needed to be on oxygen for a while.
This time spent with Xin was precious. It made me slow down and think about each of the children in our care. The moments we spend with them matter. While it isn’t possible to sit down and give them each an hour of undivided attention, what we do with the moments we have is worth a lot. This experience has made me more intentional with the moments I have. Now I give extra attention to the child who runs or crawls over to sit in my lap, or the child who typically plays themselves. They need something and even if I don’t know exactly what that is, I have something to give. Giving them a hug and spending even just a minute to focus specifically on them is easy to do, but also easy to forget when there are other kiddos running and playing around me. I am choosing each day to be intentional with my moments. Every child deserves direct attention and love, it is our choice to spend the time to give it.
*The information on kangaroo care is adapted from