Surrey Memorial Hospital and 13 other neonatal intensive care units around the British Columbia have started giving “kangaroo wraps” to new parents.

A stretchy fabric designed to hold a newborn very close, the wraps make it easier for parents to hold their baby for longer periods of time.

“It has made a very difficult situation easier,” says Kristen Switzer, whose son, Cameron, was born prematurely at 26 weeks. “With the wrap, it allows me to have him securely against my chest. I can fully relax if I need to. I can sleep if I feel like I’m dozing off. It helps keep him in the same position and secure to my chest.”

“Babies develop better when they’re skin-to-skin with a parent,” says Fraser Health lactation consultant Deb McLaren. “Their temperature is more stable, their heart rates, their breathing, their brain development – everything is more positive when they’re being held skin-to-skin.”

Since April, 40 wraps have been given to new parents at Surrey Memorial.