After sharing the story of Iris's sudden birth at 30 weeks, in discussion about my adjustment to life in the NICU, I was told by many that I'd have to "be my own advocate." Well that will be no problem I thought! What I didn't expect was that "being my own advocate" would mean being reduced to an uncontrollable onslaught of tears as I asserted my right to hold my completely stable, healthy, albeit 3 lb daughter while nurses tried to take her away from me so that she could spend even more time in her isolate.
First of all, for anyone not familiar with the term kangaroo care, it's also referred to as skin to skin care. You hold your bare chested baby against your own bare chest in an upright position between your breasts. Current research has proven this simple method of care maintains the baby's body temperature, facilitates bonding and breastfeeding, increases the mother's milk production, and can even increase weight gain and alertness. It is proven to be a safe alternative to isolates for stable low birthweight infants and is recommended by developmental care specialists who, "insist that parents should be at the center of the NICU, allowed at their babies' side twenty-four hours a day, and treated by medical staff not as guests but as the primary caregivers for their babies." Our NICU claims to encourage this widespread method of care.