Neo-natal nurses dressed up as kangaroos today to promote skin to skin bonding for premature babies and to raise money for special body wraps for parents to aid baby’s development and reduce illness.

Staff in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Southmead Hospital are raising money for Southmead Hospital Charity by dressing as Kangaroos to promote ‘Kangaroo Care’, a method of caring for stabilised low-weight or premature babies outside incubators.

As part of International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day on Tuesday May 15, the team will also be hosting a cake sale and a ‘kangaroo-care-athon’ where parents on the unit will be encouraged hold their babies skin to skin.

Kangaroo care aids baby’s development, promotes parent and baby interaction, reduces the baby’s risk of illness and helps them to maintain a healthy body temperature.

And each baby on the NICU will be given a kangaroo book, mug and toy – funded by Southmead Hospital Charity to promote the International Kangaroo Care Awareness initiative.

Southmead Hospital Charity has also funded reclining chairs for parents to lie with their babies to facilitate skin to skin contact.

Michelle Jackson, NICU matron, said: “Kangaroo care has been found to have huge benefits for baby – to reduce instances of infection, hypothermia, lower respiratory tract disease and reduce the length of stay in hospital.

“It also increases weight gain, brain development and helps with breathing, heart rate, and blood sugar regulation as well as contributing to more successful breastfeeding.

“Parents who do kangaroo care find it a very satisfying way to bond with and nurture their baby, particularly after spending their first weeks in an incubator.

“We hope to be able to buy each parent a special kangaroo sling to use while on the unit.”

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