Kangaroo care has shown that skin-to-skin contact is linked to lower death rates.
Skin-to-skin contact with their mothers during the early months may reduce infant mortality. The lowering was by as much as one third. Researchers are intrigued by this news. Kangaroo mother care was examined in depth.
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This involved extensive breastfeeding as well. The biggest drop in infant mortality was for those babies who were born prematurely and with low weights. Even normal weight babies showed salubrious effects such as greater oxygen uptake, temperature control and reduced pain.
KMC or Kangaroo Mother Care is best for undeveloped countries where other means of stimulation for the infants is not available. It is a highly beneficial method for the infant and mother to bond well over the specifics of child care.
The paper on this appeared in the online journal Pediatrics. Over 4 million babies die during the first month of their lives each year on a global level.
Those babies who are born early or underweight are especially prone to this mortality figure. While incubators may be of help, they are not available in the poorer countries.
The researchers who undertook the study analyzed skin to skin contact in a thorough manner. Those babies who weighed less than 4.4 pounds were more likely to survive if they received KMC.
Besides a 36% reduction in mortality, a 47% lower chance of contracting sepsis or infection was also noticed. It is well known among psychologists that skin to skin contact is essential not only for the physical health of the human animal but also for its psychological growth and sanity.
Experiments with monkeys were carried out by Harry Harlow. They proved that young monkeys sought contact comfort. They chose a surrogate mother made from wire with a blanket wrapped around it rather than one with the wire alone.
The proper growth and developmental evolution of the monkeys was pinned on the provision of warmth, nourishment and love from the mothers.
This is very important since without this vital ingredient in the mix, the monkeys turn out to be incomplete and neurotic individuals when they become adults.
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They cannot engage in the social rituals normally shown by the rest of the monkeys that have been properly socialized and they also lack the means of performing the mating rituals that are specific to their species.