Kangaroo-a-thon at UCHealth!

Welcome to the Kangaroo-a-thon at UCHealth!

November 1st - 30th, 2021

Parents and staff at the  UCHealth NICU are cordially invited to participate in the
Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth (University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora - Anschutz Medical Campus)
celebrating World Prematurity Day (Nov. 17th) 
in collaboration with Love for Lily, The Zaky, and Kangaroo Care Day
Love for Lily logo                   

Please read all this page

 UCHealth is hosting a Kangaroo-a-thon through November to raise awareness and focus around the importance of the kangaroo care.

Throughout the month we’ll be celebrating the NICU at  UCHealth as we work together to help create positive bonding opportunities between parents, babies and the medical teams who support them.

Please take the time to read through this page to find all the information you need about the event. If you have any questions, please speak with your nurse. 


What is Kangaroo Care?

Kangaroo care is arguably the best, most nurturing, and healing intervention for you and your baby.  It is also called skin-to-skin contact, skin-to-skin care, or kangaroo-mother-care. 

The NICU at  UCHealth is considered a kangaroo care facility because they understand that the parent's chest is the best environment for the baby to sleep (and sleep is when the baby heals, grows, and develops the brain), and it also promotes bonding and family integration.  The healthcare team at  UCHealth supports both parents to hold the baby skin to skin, chest to chest.

Please always use The Zaky ZAK®t o keep the baby safe, warm, and comfortable. Follow all the instructions, education, safety protocols, and implementation guidelines provided by your baby's nurse before starting kangaroo care. 


How long should you kangaroo care your baby? 

Each sleep cycle lasts one hour, and babies in the womb sleep 20-22 hours a day.  Give your baby as many sleep cycles as you possibly can, and make sure the sessions last for at least one sleep cycle.    


What is a Kangaroo-a-thon?

The Kangaroo-a-thon is a friendly competition about what baby is held the longest in kangaroo care. It is organized for families in the NICU at  UCHealth and it began as an activity to celebrate the International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day (May 15th since 2011). www.kangaroo.care


Why is Kangaroo Care and this Kangaroo-a-thon important?

We are organizing a Kangaroo-a-thon in the NICU at  UCHealth to significantly improve bonding and healthcare outcomes for babies and families, and to celebrate the staff that make it happen.  It is also intended to be fun, educational, nurturing, supportive, and without any judgment.


Who participates? 

Every baby and coach at the NICU at  UCHealth is invited to participate.  A Kangaroo Care Coach is anyone who supports kangaroo care and works to make it happen.  It may be educators, nurses, therapists, doctors, volunteers, etc.


How do you participate? 

Hold your baby skin to skin for as long as you can, as uninterrupted as you can, and as frequently as you can (recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics) and track every minute of your sessions in The Zaky mobile app to participate.  See below for instructions for The Zaky mobile app.

Each day, when leaving the NICU, parents will be given 2 colored cards for each hour of kangaroo care done that day. You will fill out one color with your baby's name/nickname or your name, and the other color with the name of the coach who supported you the most to kangaroo care that day.

Then you will place the cards on the wall as you exit next to the front desk so we can track all the hours as a team. Together we’ll get to watch as wall fills up to show how many hours of collective kangaroo time we’ve accumulated.


What is The Zaky ZAK, and when should i use it? 


 UCHealth has selected The Zaky ZAK to support your baby during every kangaroo care session. It is the only evidence-based, ergonomic device engineered for holding babies weighing 1 to 15 lbs. in the NICU and then at home.

It was designed by a PhD in ergonomics and safety engineer and the [kangaroo] mother of Zachary (the inspiration of The Zaky).   

Because it is a safety device, the  UCHealth will supply you with The Zaky ZAK if you don't have one. To buy one for yourself or to donate to the  UCHealth NICU, please click here.

The Zaky, on behalf of Zachary, will donate 10% of your purchase for prizes towards the Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth (no coupon necessary - it cannot be combined with other promotions). 

Click here to learn how The Zaky ZAK protects your baby during kangaroo care

Meet Finn Joseph, 24 weeker, born at  UCHealth November 18th, 2016. He is skin-to-skin with his mom, Theresa, using The Zaky ZAK. She is now the Development Director of Love for Lily and Finn is healthy and will soon celebrate his 5th birthday!
Share photos, videos, and stories in social media and win!

During kangaroo care either snap a selfie or ask a coach to catch you and your baby in snuggles using The Zaky ZAK and post it to social media. Use the hashtags #spreadthelove, #loveforlily, #thesnuggleisreal #kangaroocare #KangarooWithUCH #TheZaky and enter our weekly photo contest. 

IMPORTANT: By using the tags #LoveForLily, #KangarooWithUCH, and/or #TheZaky, you agree to enter the social media contest and give irrevocable permission to  UCHealth, Love for Lily, and The Zaky to use the content for education, marketing, or share.


What happens if my baby is not allowed to be held?

We know how difficult it is not to be able to hold your baby, and we all hope you can hold your baby heart-to-heart soon. 

Talk with your baby's nurse to see if you can do a "modified" kangaroo care and log your hours.  Otherwise, follow the instructions about how you may nurture your baby during this time (i.e., read, sing, touch with your hands, etc.) and use the other features of The Zaky mobile app until you may resume holding in kangaroo care.


Who wins?

We have several categories for the Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth (weekly and overall):

      1. The baby that was kangaroo cared the longest (mom+dad).
      2. The coach that was selected the most by the parents for the support provided to kangaroo care.
      3. The best photo, story, video shared tagging #spreadthelove #kangaroocare #kangaroowithuch #TheZaky
When will be the winners announced?

Our winners will be announced as follows:

Monday, November 8th - weekly winners for Nov 1 to Nov 7  

Monday, November 15th - weekly winners for Nov 8 to Nov 14  

Monday, November 22th - weekly winners for Nov 15 to Nov 21  

Monday, November 30th - weekly winners for Nov 22 to Nov 30 and Overall Winners for the Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth

Sahra Cahoon, the founder of Love for Lily, will join the NICU coaches to award the prizes.

What are the prizes? 

Without a doubt the best prize is the connection you experience with your baby, and knowing that you and your baby are receiving the best evidence-based nurturing care available for NICU babies.

The winners will receive a certificate of recognition and bragging rights.
If you would like to donate a prize, please contact love@loveforlily.org 

We will be revising this list so stay tuned:  

Weekly winner Overall winner
The baby that was held the longest (mom+dad).
The Zaky ROO™ a gift card
The Zaky ZAK®, 
an organic soap bar,
and spa Gift Card.
The coach selected by the parents for being the most supportive.
one organic soap bar from The Zaky ZEN® wellness line
and a gift card

The Zaky ROO™ 

and a gift card
 The best share with The Zaky ZAK tagging #KangarooWithUCH and #TheZaky.
one organic soap bar from The Zaky ZEN® wellness line
The Zaky ZAK®


How do you register?

Coaches are automatically registered. Continue supporting families in everything related to kangaroo care, and guide them in logging the duration in The Zaky mobile app and the manual log. Parents select the most supportive coach so be there and be counted!

Parents, register in The Zaky mobile app, following these instructions:
1- Download The Zaky mobile app, open an account, and register your baby or babies.  Click here to learn more about The Zaky mobile app

Link for iPhone, iPad users from your mobile device:

Link for Android users 
from your mobile device:

2-  After you register your baby in The Zaky mobile app, follow these 3 steps to register your baby for the Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth.

In The Zaky mobile app, invite the  UCHealth Team Leader using email kc.uch.2021@gmail.com to your baby's group so that they can see your kangaroo care duration and get you counted for prizes.  You may delete this access at any time.

3- Both parents participate in the Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth, therefore when applicable, you may follow the same instructions to invite the other parent or/and others into your baby's account so they can also log their kangaroo care sessions for the Kangaroo-a-thon and log, as well as other activities and journal. 

4- Start logging the duration of every kangaroo care session (manually or using the timer) on The Zaky app now.  Only the month of November will count for the Kangaroo-a-thon at  UCHealth, but please, kangaroo care as much as you can and practice using the log.

The Zaky mobile app

5- Copy the duration of each session on a paper log that will be provided to you on November 1st, and submit it to the nurse on November 30th or at discharge from the NICU, whichever happens first. 
How do you prepare for the Kangaroo-a-thon? 

Ask your baby's nurse about kangaroo care, hold your baby skin to skin with The Zaky ZAK®, download The Zaky mobile app.
Track your kangaroo care sessions and use the other features, and hold the baby until s/he shows signs of not wanting it anymore (you may use The Zaky ZAK until they weigh around 15 lbs.) 

Share your photos, stories, videos and tag #spreadthelove #kangaroocare #kangaroowithuch #TheZaky

Prizes donated by:

       Love for Lily logo (more to come)

If you would like to donate prizes, please contact love@loveforlily.org