Michael Phelps Shows Kangaroo Care Isn't Just for Moms

He goes for the gold with this smart parenting move.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
May 2016
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Photo: Instagram

After three Olympic Games, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing Michael Phelps’s midriff. So it shouldn’t be surprising that the swimmer introduced his baby boy, Boomer, to the world sans shirt. Still, not all of his Facebook fans may realize there’s a reason for holding newborns this way. It’s a great example of how kangaroo care, or skin-to-skin contact, is beneficial for babies and dads, not just moms.

Skin-to-skin contact, typically implemented by holding baby to your chest, as early as possible certainly does have big benefits for women: studies have shown it reduces the risk of postpartum depression and makes breastfeeding easier. But additional benefits are gender-neutral: A study published in Pediatrics found skin-to-skin contact for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent. And the release of oxytocin—the “cuddling hormone”—in both parent and baby promotes feelings of attachment and relaxation.

Boomer, born on May 5, does look pretty relaxed in the birth announcement Phelps shared on Facebook and Instagram.

“Best feeling I have ever felt in my life!!!” Phelps captioned the photo. This is the first child for Phelps and fiancée Nicole Johnson.

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