International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day is held every year on May 15. It’s a global event that aims to increase the safety, implementation, research, awareness, and education about kangaroo care globally. It also hopes to bring attention to the positive physiological and psychological benefits of kangaroo care.
History of International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day
International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day (Kangaroo Mother Care or K.M.C. Day) was founded on May 15, 2011, by Yamile Jackson, Ph.D., P.E., P.M.P., to increase the safety, implementation, research, awareness, and education about kangaroo care globally.
One popular way to celebrate kangaroo care day is by facilitating a “kangaroo-a-thon” which is a friendly competition about which baby is held the longest during a period of time. Jackson is an ergonomics Ph.D. engineer and the mother of Zachary, a former micro-preemie who was born on May 15, 2001. Jackson and and her husband held Zach using kangaroo care in the N.I.C.U., and it saved his life when his life-support equipment failed when Zach was three weeks old and weighed a just over two pounds. Zach survived and thrived against incredible odds. Today, he is in college.
Jackon’s life mission and transformational desire is to improve the healthcare, development, neuroprotection, and mental health of hospitalized babies and families.
International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day timeline
Dr. Edgar Rey and Dr. Hector Martinez first suggest it in Bogota, Colombia.
Clark is one of the first to try kangaroo care in the United States with her son Danny at a hospital in St. Paul Minnesota.
Dr. Yamile Jackson establishes the day to promote awareness, after kangaroo care saves the life of her son, Zachary.
The Gates couple gives $7,466,490 to the World Health Organization to study the impact of kangaroo mother care for preterm and low-birth-weight babies.
Studies show starting kangaroo mother care immediately after birth can save up to 150,000 more lives each year.
International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day FAQs
When should you do kangaroo care?
If it’s possible, it should be done immediately after birth. It can last throughout the entire postpartum period or around 12 weeks.
What is the core component of kangaroo care?
Skin-to-skin contact is its core component. Other components like breastfeeding and follow-up care are context-specific.
How long is kangaroo care effective?
Practicing kangaroo care for at least an hour is recommended. It can also be done for as long as the mom (or parent) and baby are comfortable.
How to Observe International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day
Donate to charities
Look for legitimate charities. A gift of any amount would be welcomed by organizations.
Hug someone you love
A sincere hug produces the love hormone oxytocin and the “feel good” hormone serotonin. It can reduce stress and make you feel happy. Hug someone you care about — a partner, a friend, or a child. It'll benefit you both.
Help a mom
Volunteer to do childcare, errands, or housework. It’s important that moms feel supported to be able to give the best care to their families.
5 Things To Do Before Starting Kangaroo Care
Make sure you’re healthy
You can pass the illness to your child if you’re sick so it’s best to wait until you’re feeling better.
Take the time you need
Ideally, you should spend at least 60 minutes of skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
Have clean and healthy skin
Don’t use perfume and see to it that you don’t have rashes, cold sores, or open skin lesions.
Steer clear of this unhealthy habit for your baby as well as yourself.
Turn off any gadgets and focus on your baby by using this quiet time to read or sing to them.
Why International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day is Important
It boosts a mom’s confidence in her ability to care for her baby
Handling a newborn can be daunting, more so if it’s your first time. Such close contact with the baby makes a mom feel that she can look after her newborn properly.
It improves the bond between parent and child
Skin-to-skin contact isn’t just for moms and babies. Dads can also participate in kangaroo care.
It increases a mother’s breast milk supply
Breastfeeding an infant can be challenging. Moms have reported an improvement in their milk supply while practicing kangaroo care.
International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day dates