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May 21, 2024

Kangaroo care for comfort and connection

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Kangaroo care for comfort and connection

Holding a baby is a way to comfort and connect, and it’s important for the growth and development of babies—particularly preterm infants. Skin-to-skin contact, or kangaroo care, is encouraged for as long and as often as the parents are able.

What is kangaroo care?

Babies who receive this care are better able to regulate their body temperature, have improved oxygen levels and more. It also helps stimulate mothers’ milk production.

Bloomington neonatologist Bre Sheehan, MD, says, “Kangaroo Care also helps with bonding between parent and infant, which is especially important in the NICU where parents often feel they cannot be with their infant like they had planned before their unexpected birth.”

There are options for babies whose conditions prevent them from being held, such as “encircled holding” or hand hugging.


Participating in the Kangaroo-A-Thon is just one way the Bloomington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) helps babies and new families get off to the best start possible.

Every family room has a calendar where parents or guardians can log their kangaroo care, and each hour of kangaroo care will enter them into a prize drawing.

Parents will also be given a Mama Kangaroo with two baby “Joey” kangaroos where they can place their weekly hours for fun or as a keepsake.

Hospitals around the world that care for preterm babies participate in this challenge. The 2024 Bloomington goal is to have each baby held for at least four hours, every day from May 15 – 29.

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BreAnn M. Sheehan, MD

Neonatal - Perinatal Medicine

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