Mothers of a Kansas City hospital’s tiniest patients were gifted a special keepsake in honor of Mother’s Day this week, when photographers teamed up with March of Dimes and Saint Luke’s Hospital to capture precious moments during a skin-to-skin bonding session.
The mothers, whose children are patients in Saint Luke’s Hospital’s newborn intensive care unit (NICU), were practicing kangaroo care, which has been shown to boost health benefits for both the baby and mother. It involves holding a diapered baby against a bare chest, and is recommended by March of Dimes and health experts to help improve weight gain, heart stabilization, brain development and physical and emotional bonding, according to a news release.
“Mother’s Day — especially a mom’s very first with her new baby — can be hard for many families with children in the NICU,” Stacey D. Stewart, March of Dimes president, said in the release. “Our NICU Family Support program works with Saint Luke’s Hospital and more than 100 other hospitals around the United States to offer the support families need to have the best possible experience when their baby is in the NICU.”
Some of the photographers spent time with their own children in the NICU, which made for an even more emotional session. The hospital is also planning to host a kangaroo-a-thon from May 9 to 14 to encourage mothers to practice kangaroo care with their babies.
“From providing the chance to build a loving bond by using the sense of touch with kangaroo care, to commemorating milestones like Mother’s Day, the March of Dimes is proud to partner with hospitals like St. Luke’s to give every baby and every family a healthy, loving start,” Stewart said.