Mom cuddles premature baby back to life

Sep 28, 2010 at 2:13 a.m. ET

The medical community is in shock after Australian mom Kate Ogg brought her premature baby back to life after skin-to-skin contact for two hours. Many doctors have known of the benefits of direct skin contact with babies, called “kangaroo care,” but were still amazed that a baby who had been pronounced dead was revived. We explore the amazing powers of kangaroo care.

Kate Ogg

Kate Ogg gave birth to her twin babies early, at 27 weeks. Her premature daughter, Emily, survived, but after trying to revive her son for 20 minutes, doctors told her that he was dead. Her son was then placed on her bare chest so she could say good-bye. She soon noticed movements and, after two hours of skin-to-skin contact, he eventually opened his eyes – much to the shock of the doctors.

"[The baby] comes out of you, and all of a sudden there isn't the warmth or smell of the mother or the sound of their heartbeat. And so putting him back on my chest was as close to him being inside me where he was safe," Ogg explained to Ann Curry on the Today Show on her instinctive need to hold her baby.

The power of touch seems to have amazing powers – especially for a newborn baby. Read on to learn how you can use its incredible benefits with your own baby.

How does kangaroo care work?

Kangaroo care, in which a newborn baby receives skin-to-skin contact with the mother or father, helps provide heat and warmth to the baby – much in the way a mother kangaroo's pouch provides warmth to her newborn baby. This practice is done all over the world – especially in developing countries where many people may not have access to incubators.

"We've known for about 30 years that kangaroo care can have a remarkable effect on the health of the baby," says Ann Douglas, author of multiple parenting books, including The Mother of all Parenting Books.

"Skin-to-skin holding has been proven to stabilize heart and respiratory rates, improve oxygen saturation rates and help to regulate the newborn's body temperature (thereby conserving precious energy stores). Babies sleep more, cry less and are more likely to thrive. This mother must have known about the research on the benefits of kangaroo care and decided to apply her knowledge in an attempt to save her baby, even after medical science had given up on him. The result is an amazingly happy ending."

Real moms agree on the power of touch

"I, too, saved the life of my 2-lb son by holding him skin-to-skin when the hospital lost power and the life-supporting equipment shut down in 2001," says Yamile Jackson, PhD, PE, PMP, and president and founder of Zakeez. "We kept him alive by hand for nine hours until he was evacuated. My son is a healthy 9-year-old (may I say alive and healthy against incredible odds) and I work on his behalf."

Jackson since developed the Kangaroo Zak (named after her son) to facilitate Kangaroo Mother Care and make it safe, comfortable and convenient for the parent, the child and the nurse.

What you saidTell us: Do you believe in the power of touch to a newborn baby? Comment below!

More on the power of skin-to-skin contact

What is Kangaroo Care?

Have you heard about Kangaroo Care? Experts say it's not only good for developing that feeling of closeness between parent and child, it can be good for your baby's health and development!

More on parenting preemies