NEO-NATAL nurses have dressed up as kangaroos at Southmead Hospital to promote skin to skin bonding for premature babies and fundraise for special equipment.

The staff from the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) were promoting “Kangaroo Care”, a method of caring for stabilised low-weight or premature babies outside incubators, raising money for body wraps for parents to aid the babies’ development and reduce illness.

As part of International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day on Tuesday, May 15, the team also hosted a cake sale and a ‘kangaroo-care-athon’ where parents on the unit were encouraged hold their babies skin to skin.

Each baby on the NICU was also given a kangaroo book, mug and toy - funded by Southmead Hospital Charity to promote the International Kangaroo Care Awareness initiative.

The charity has also funded reclining chairs for parents to lie with their babies to facilitate skin to skin contact.

Michelle Jackson, NICU matron, said: “Kangaroo care has been found to have huge benefits for baby - to reduce instances of infection, hypothermia, lower respiratory tract disease and reduce the length of stay in hospital.

“It also increases weight gain, brain development and helps with breathing, heart rate, and blood sugar regulation as well as contributing to more successful breastfeeding.

“Parents who do kangaroo care find it a very satisfying way to bond with and nurture their baby, particularly after spending their first weeks in an incubator.

“We hope to be able to buy each parent a special kangaroo sling to use while on the unit.”

To support the Southmead Hospital NICU, visit