St. Paul’s trials new device for skin-to-skin care after C-sections

Lisa Wong demonstrates the “Joeyband” with newborn son Bruce Nagai in the maternity ward at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Gerry Kahrmann / PNG

St. Paul’s Hospital has taken a cue from the kangaroo to keep moms and babies healthier and happier after a caesarean delivery.

The hospital has been testing out the Joeyband to promote skin-to-skin contact between babies and mothers who have just had a C-section, which requires incisions in the abdomen and uterus and an anesthetic. The stretchable nylon-spandex loop, made by Canadian firm S2S Innovations Inc., holds a newborn snuggly against its mother’s chest and abdomen after birth.

Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact promotes breastfeeding and bonding, and helps reduce risk for postpartum depression.

Scott Harrison, director for the maternity centre at St. Paul’s, said the Joeyband takes its name from the babies of kangaroos, who spend months in their mothers’ pouches after birth. Human skin-to-skin contact following birth is often called “kangaroo care.”

The band is particularly useful in the operating room immediately following a C-section, Harrison said.

“It’s a very supportive band that holds the baby quite firmly to moms. Dads can use it, too, and other family members who might be involved,” he said.

“For mothers and babies, after a C-section, it’s been difficult in the past to get babies safely in skin-to-skin because mom’s got IV lines in, or is a little bit sleepy still, or has some discomfort.”

In this Jan. 9, 2013 photo provided by the Chicago Zoological Society, ten- and 11-month-old kangaroo joeys poke their heads out of their mothers’ pouches at the Brookfield Zoo’s Australia House exhibit in Brookfield, Ill. The joeys were born on Feb. 20 and March 13 of last year and have only recently emerged from the pouches to explore their new surroundings.

Jim Schulz /


Skin-to-skin contact also stimulates the creation of breast milk, and regulates the baby’s temperature and breathing, Harrison added.

The Joeyband is used in hospitals across North America but St. Paul’s is the first in Canada to try the band right in its operating rooms, the company confirmed. About 20 mothers have used it at St. Paul’s so far, Harrison said.

“All the feedback from them has been that it’s really comfortable and they’ve really enjoyed that experience,” he said.

“This product has enabled us to do something new for women in the immediate hours after a caesarean section.”

Harrison said using the band to support newborns frees up nurses to focus more on breastfeeding, monitoring the mother’s vital signs and other important duties.

He said the band is used until the mom has recovered from the surgert and is able to hold the baby independently, often after a couple weeks. Typically, a mom will go home within two or three days after a C-section. They will be given a band to take with them, funded by the St. Paul’s Foundation.

Puneet Bains used the Joeyband at St. Paul’s Hospital after her son Zayn was delivered by C-section in December, 2017.


Puneet Bains, an oncologist at Lions Gate Hospital, used the Joeyband at St. Paul’s after her second son, Zayn, was delivered by C-section there in December 2017.

“I’d been through the procedure before so I actually found it quite helpful,” she said. “It was painless and it was comfortable. You always worry about anything new — is it going to be comfortable, is it going to interfere with anything?”

Bains said she was quite immobile after the C-section but the band kept Zayn safe and secure against her chest.

“I wasn’t worried about him falling or slipping,” she said.

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