April 6th, 2013
When we checked into the hospital to prepare for Little Bird’s arrival, we noticed this funny sign on the wall:
“Cold babies are not COOL. Please keep your baby in Kangaroo Care!”
It turned out that “Kangaroo Care” was the hospital code for “skin-to-skin contact.” It’s one of the many things that impressed me about the hospital and its staff. Skin-to-skin contact is one of The Big Things for crunchy mommas during childbirth. We granola moms usually lay out instructions in our birth plans that our newly-arrived little person spend as much time as possible as quickly as possible, snuggled against our naked chests. It helps with mom-baby bonding and has been shown to have a hugely positive impact on establishing breastfeeding.
And at our hospital…it was standard operating procedure. No hipster birth plan required to make it happen.
As soon as Little Bird was born — I mean immediately — the nurses gave her to me. They didn’t even clean her off first. I was presented with a messy bundled of squawking love, and they toweled her off while she sat on my chest. Then, as soon as the doc gave the all-clear that I wasn’t in any danger, the staff vanished. For the first hour after Little Bird’s birth, the only people present in the room were my husband, my baby and myself.
They didn’t even weigh and measure our girl until after that first hour had passed and after she’d had a chance to nurse.
It Was Awesome.
Even after that magical first hour, the nursing staff reminded us often to keep up with Kangaroo Care. Even after we got home, when I called the lactation consultant about some breastfeeding challenges, that was her first suggestion: strip down and snuggle up. Little Bird and I obliged, spending many hours cuddled together on the couch, chest to chest. It’s a magical experience.