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New Palmetto parents talk 'kangaroo care' after twins born at 28 weeks

New Palmetto parents talk 'kangaroo care' after twins born at 28 weeks
New Palmetto parents talk 'kangaroo care' after twins born at 28 weeks 02:15

SARASOTA, Fla. (Tampa Bay Now) - Monday is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day. Kangaroo care is a term adopted in hospitals meaning hands-on care between parents and their newborns. Monday was especially meaningful for a set of Palmetto parents who just gave birth to premature twins.

"We've been back here for the past.. over five weeks now. Every single day, you know, coming to check in on 'em. They're doing well. They're healthy, they're growing. Very emotional, Obviously, as you can tell. It was very difficult to go home and not have your children with you," explained Katie and Stephen, new parents of twins. Both got the news of a lifetime when they learned they were having twins. But excitement turned to worry when newborns Hunter and Hadley were born early at 28 weeks.

Early birth is common in twins. It's estimated that half of all twins are born early but survival rates lower for infants born 28 weeks gestation. In this case, more care is needed after the fact and it has a range of benefits.

"Basically what you do is you take them, they just have their diaper on and then they go to your chest. So, they're skin-to-skin," explained Katie about Kangaroo care.

"Regulate the baby's heart rate, respiratory rates, temperature stability, it increases the moms milk production," said Heather Graber RN who serves as the Clinical Manager at Sarasota Memorial Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It also decreases the risk of mortality in newborns. Graber says this is especially important for premature babies or babies in the NICU. "Because what we have found over the many years of doing this is it does decrease the length of stay." 

"I've noticed when we do hold them, they breathe better, their heart beats better, their oxygen level stays pretty consistent," said Katie. "And then, it's so funny because you put them right back and it's like you it goes right down. So, they know."

"We encourage the dads just as much as the moms to do it because the baby knows the dads smell and touch," said Graber.

"Obviously, most full-term babies, you know, get to have that time immediately," said Stephen. "And so, you know, with us having that delay of just a week was a tough experience."

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