The hardest thing about having a premature baby is not being able to hold them. A mother's instinct is to hold your child close, to feed them, to love them. When they are born prematurely you can't do that. They need to be kept in incubators, safe from infection, in a controlled environment.
It is becoming increasingly clear that kangaroo care has enormous benefits for the baby and the parent. There is a lot of evidence that kangaroo care teaches the baby how to regulate their own temperature, and also improves neurological development too. In developing countries in particular, where babies are born at later gestations than Joseph, kangaroo care can eliminate the need for incubators. Kangaroo care is natural, free and the easiest thing in the world.
The doctors at the our hospital laughed, that I was Australian, and doing kangaroo care. Never mind the fact that Kangaroo Mother Care originated in Colombia and has nothing to do with Australia at all.
When I held Joseph like this, for me, it was healing. I felt like a "proper" mum. I didn't want to ever let him go. We didn't get kangaroo care until he was one month old, but now I know that we could have been doing this at a much earlier stage.
I would urge any parent with a baby in NICU to push their staff. I wish now I had challenged this more. There are lots of resources to help but the most powerful one is the Best Beginnings Small Wonders DVD.
Kangaroo care is healing, it is sacred time, and the fact it benefits both the parents and the baby is wonderful