COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Piedmont Columbus Regional is helping mothers who have recently given birth bond with their babies, kangaroo-style.
This is the hospital's way of promoting better health practices with newborn babies.
Health officials say skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby is a major health benefit for both.
The goal is to log 400 hours of kangaroo cuddle time over the next two weeks.
Piedmont Columbus Regional is heavily promoting this method to ensure that when babies are born at the hospital they remain healthy in their delicate state.
The name "Kangaroo-a-thon" comes from the way a kangaroo holds her baby in her pouch.
It is also in response to the high death rate in pre-term babies seen in South America in the 1970s.
Researchers found that babies who were held close to their mother's bodies for large portions of the day not only survived but thrived.
"We typically like for them to at least kangaroo care for at least one hour because that promotes your REM-sleep," said Kayla Andrews, RN Acute Care. "They can kangaroo care for as long as they want to or if the baby is doing well. Our goal this year is 400 hours so for every hour that a baby kangaroo cares we will tally that on to our wooden kangaroo."
Health officials say skin-to-skin method is proven to be beneficial by helping the baby adapt to body temperature, boosting babies' mental development, reducing stress and pain, and preventing postpartum depression.
Piedmont Columbus Regional is home to a level three neonatal intensive care unit, being one of only six in Georgia.