Kangaroo-a-thon: Mercyhealth tracks hours that parents hold babies
A Kangaroo-a-thon is underway in Rockford.
Mercyhealth's neonatal intensive care unit is keeping track of the hours parents spend holding their baby for two weeks.
Kangaroo care is a form of holding a baby on a parent's chest. It's known to be extremely important in the growth and development of babies, particularly for those born premature.
Mercyhealth is encouraging parents in the NICU to hold their babies skin-to-skin as long and as often as they can. If the baby's condition prevents them from being able to physically hold them, they can choose hand hugging instead.
"They document the minutes they hold every day, and we put it all together and do a total for the NICU each day," said Anne Herkert, Mercyhealth family support coordinator. "We have a celebration on the 16th for all the families that are involved."
Mercyhealth's unit is among hundreds of others in the United States and Canada participating in the Kangaroo-a-thon. This project culminates on kangaroo care awareness day on May 15.