Today is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, and in honor of this special day, we are so happy to feature the story of Hanna, and her baby, Oliver. We met Hanna when we recently visited the Omaha Children’s NICU for a discussion with their (amazing!) staff about skin-to-skin practices. Hanna was in the NICU with her sweet baby and we got talking. She said something we’ll never forget: that it was when she was able to hold Oliver skin-to-skin that she knew and felt that she was a mom. Tears ensued, and we knew we had to share her story with you.
“Happy Kangaroo Care Awareness Day! I am so happy to have the opportunity to highlight one of my favorite things I am able to do with my son. My son Oliver was born at just 28 weeks gestation, due to my having preeclampsia. He was just 2 pounds 3.6 ounces. Just like any mom, I had dreams of my labor, delivery and the moments after. Most of those dreams went out the window, but there was still one I could hold on to and look forward to. When could I hold my baby?
When Oliver was a week old I went to visit him in the NICU and they asked me if I wanted to hold him! “Of course” I said with a big smile. They wrapped him in a blanket because he was so small and he had so many tubes. I was wearing a nursing tank top and they gently placed him in the front. This moment was so great. The nurse had mentioned how great Kangaroo Care was for babies and especially premature babies. That is what sparked my interest to see what research has discovered about Kangaroo Care.
According to the March of Dimes, Kangaroo Care can help a baby gain weight, keep them warm, and bond with their mommy. Since Oliver was so small those were some of the top benefits I wanted to find from doing skin to skin. As a mother I wanted to be able to provide those things for him and who knew that Kangaroo Care could help Oliver thrive?
About a month later I was able to get a second and third opportunity to hold Oliver. He was still intubated at the time so I had to schedule times to hold him. The first time I was able to hold him by sitting him on a pillow and cradling him. This wasn’t very intimate, there was no skin-to-skin contact and we were very distant from each other. I was very discouraged after this holding time because I felt such a disconnection.
Two days later one of Oliver’s regular nurses came in and asked if I wanted to hold him that day. She said, “Do you have one of those NüRoo shirts yet?” I told her I didn’t but it sounded wonderful. She said, “You will love it! I even bought one for myself when my baby comes.” She went to the back and brought me one of these beautiful teal NüRoo Pocket shirts. I was surprised at how stylish the shirt was and the quality of the material. Even though the shirt belonged to the NICU, I felt so special to be able to wear it. We got everyone together to move Oliver and I was able to hold him for the longest I had ever held him.
Not only did I discover the ways Kangaroo Care helps babies but I was amazed at what it did for me! I had a noticeable increase in my milk supply after holding Oliver and I could feel the oxytocin running through my body that I haven’t felt with any other style of holding. Moments when I held him skin-to-skin were the times where we were able to build and establish our bond as mother and baby.
Oliver, 4 months old!
Now Oliver is four months old. Although he is still in the NICU, his Physical and Occupational Therapist are absolutely amazed at how well he is doing. I believe that Kangaroo Care had something to do with Oliver being such a fighter and not being behind on his developmental skills. Now I have my own special NüRoo pocket shirt. I can’t wait to use it with all of my future children too. Thank you for listening to my story on what Kangaroo Care means to me. I would love to hear what it has done for you too!”
My name is Hanna. I am a Wife, Mother, Blogger and I am indecisive. I am from the bluegrass state of Kentucky, but currently reside in Nebraska with my husband. My due date with our baby was April 2015, but he arrived at 28 weeks on January 12, 2015 at 2:04pm. At his birth, Oliver weighed 2 pounds, 3.6 oz and was 13 inches long. If you’re interested, please check out my blog, Gilland’s Island.