ROCKFORD, Illinois- The Mercyhealth Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is participating in a Kangaroo-A-Thon beginning May 1 to encourage families to hold their babies for extended periods of time. Mercyhealth joins other NICUs in the United States, Canada and around the world in this project that culminates on Kangaroo Care Awareness Day on May 15.
Kangaroo care is a form of holding a baby on a parent’s chest. It’s known to be extremely important in the growth and development of babies, particularly preterm babies.
Mercyhealth is encouraging parents in the NICU to hold their babies skin-to-skin as long and as often as they are able. If the baby’s condition prevents them from being physically placed on the parent, they can do containment care instead, which can be encircled holding or hand hugging. The staff will assist them in whichever method is best for their baby.
“We want to keep track of how much time we do kangaroo care in the NICU over these two weeks,” said Pam Allen, Mercyhealth NICU Nurse Manager. “Each time a parent holds their baby, we’re asking them to log their time on a form at their baby’s bedside.”
On Thursday, May 16, Mercyhealth will hold a celebration at the end of the Kangaroo-A-Thon. The total number of hours will be calculated. Each family that participates will be given a special prize pack to commemorate this amazing effort for our babies.
The Kangaroo-A-Thon is presented by the Mercyhealth NICU Family Advisory Council and the Mercyhealth Development Foundation.