International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day Date in the current year: May 15, 2024

International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day Contrary to its name, International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day has nothing to do with kangaroo conservation. This observance was created to raise awareness of Kangaroo Mother Care, an approach to caring for preterm or low birth weight infants that involves lots of skin-to-skin contact.

Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), also known as simply kangaroo care, is the recommended care technique for premature and low birth weight (LBW) infants who have overcome initial health problems and require only to feed and grow until they gain enough weight to be discharged from the hospital. It involves skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby; the name “kangaroo care” is a reference to how kangaroo joeys, which are born at an early stage of development, stay in their mother’s pouch, where they are safe and protected.

The skin-to-skin approach to infant care has been present in many cultures around the world for centuries, but it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that its effectiveness was scientifically proven. It was first introduced in the late 1970s at a neonatal ward in Bogotá, Colombia, to alleviate the lack of incubators and caregivers. The first scientific papers about the kangaroo care method were published in 1981, and the term “Kangaroo Mother Care” was officially adopted in 1996.

In the KMC method, a mother places her baby onto her chest and covers the infant with a blanket. This skin-to-skin contact is believed to help stabilize the baby’s body temperature and heart rate, improve breathing and sleep patterns, reduce stress and decrease crying, promote breastfeeding, and increase chances of an early discharge from the NICU. KMC is also beneficial for new mothers and their partners because it helps them bond with their baby and increases their confidence in being able to take care of their newborn.

International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, also known as World Kangaroo Care Day or simply Kangaroo Care Day, was created in 2011. It was started by Yamile Jackson from Texas, whose son Zachary was born prematurely weighing less than 2 lbs on May 15, 2001. Yamile and her husband Larry used the KMC technique in the NICU, and it saved their son’s life when his life support equipment failed during a tropical storm.

Jackson launched International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day to do something special for her son’s 10th birthday and raise global awareness of Kangaroo Mother Care among parents, perinatal professionals and healthcare organizations around the world. The main goal of this awareness campaign is to boost the implementation of KMC as the evidence-based care for premature and LBW infants.

You can participate in International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day by learning more about KMC and its benefits and sharing the facts you’ve learned with others, participating in an awareness event near you or organizing an event of your own, donating to a charity that helps premature babies and their families, and spreading the word on social media with the hashtags #InternationalKangarooCareAwarenessDay and #KangarooCareDay.

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