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New mothers, babies like KangarooCare contact after delivery

Jennifer Tucker knew she wanted KangarooCare or skin-to-skin, a special way to hold a baby shortly after birth, even before she delivered son Calvin in March.

Tucker, 35, a special education teacher at Paducah Middle School, and her husband, Jeff, researched KangarooCare and thought it was best for their baby.

“Right after I gave birth, he was placed on my chest and stayed there for 1 ½ hours,” Tucker said. “It is natural to put a child on a mother’s chest. For me, after the process of giving birth and labor, it’s a very quiet, calm time to connect with the baby. It’s just mom and dad’s time. It’s very peaceful.”

Baptist Health Paducah started the program in 2010. "KangarooCare is a wonderful opportunity for moms and dads to get close to their newborns," said obstetrician/gynecologist Brad Housman, M.D. "During this time, babies get comfortable and are very content. The closeness helps regulate baby's temperature and helps them sleep."

A year earlier, Tucker requested KangarooCare after daughter Claire was born. “She was in distress and she did amazing with it,” she said.

If the mother chooses KangarooCare, the baby, wearing only a diaper, is placed directly on the mother’s chest – and mom and baby bond for 30 minutes to an hour while in recovery. Breastfeeding mothers can feed their babies for the first time during this KangarooCare time.

“The main reason we do this is because it helps moms and babies bond,” said Debbie Cornwell, R.N., Baptist Health Paducah’s lactation consultant. “Babies are leaving a warm and cozy environment coming into the light and a cold world. Research shows that babies prefer skin-to-skin. It stabilizes their vital signs and regulates their temperature. For the first few months, a baby’s sensory input is from touch. It stimulates their brain. Touch is very important for them.”

In addition, KangarooCare helps:

  • Babies cry less and sleep more.
  • Babies hear their mothers’ voice and heartbeat.
  • Babies get important antibodies from mother’s skin.
  • Babies breastfeed easier.
  • Moms feel more confident in carrying for their baby.

After the initial bonding time, the baby is taken to the nursery, and the mother is transferred to a room. They are reunited once mom is settled and the baby has been assessed in the nursery.

KangarooCare can be used any time during the hospital stay. Dads can use it, too, especially while moms sleep or shower.


Lactation services are available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, leave a message on The Breastfeeding Helpline at (270) 575-2254.

Also, registered nurses answer Baptist Health Paducah’s StorkLine at (270) 575-BABY 24 hours a day.