Hospital Needs Volunteers To Cuddle Newborn Babies

Hospital Needs Volunteers To Cuddle Newborn Babies

The benefits of cuddling a newborn are immense. It not only helps the child, but their parents, too.

There is a lot of power in touch, especially for pre-term babies or those born with addiction or other health issues. Doctors really know what miracles a touch can have on these babies, which is why Raleigh's UNC-Rex Birth Center NICU is seeking volunteer cuddlers, according to CNN. "It decreases pain, it decreases the baby's stress and it helps promote healing," Nicole Ross, a registered nurse and the Newborn Screening coordinator at UNC-Rex Birth Center told CNN affiliate WRAL. "It helps with brain development, and it helps decrease their length of stay." 



Cuddlers play a crucial role in the care provided at the hospital. Snuggling has several benefits. These include helping newborns overcome the struggles they face, and enables parents in their own recovery. Just ask Jennifer Majure who leaves her two-month-old son in the able hands of these volunteer cuddlers. "It's a huge stress reliever. Knowing that he's in great hands has been a great, tremendous comfort."



Volunteer Kelli Ready is one of the current 10 trusted cuddlers at the hospital. "This is exciting for me, to get to come and snuggle babies." While Ready cuddles newborns such as 2-week-old Kamani, this gives mom Cecelia Williams an opportunity to snuggle Kamani's twin brother Kamari. "I just feel like I've done something great for the babies to hopefully relieve their stress and improve their day," Ready said.



Thanks to cuddlers such as Ready, the hospital has managed to improve the care provided to patients and their families at UNC-Rex. What started off as a trial program for volunteer cuddlers a little over a year ago has blossomed. They are now looking to expand with several hospitals offering similar programs across the country.  



"Cuddling helps your baby develop a secure attachment to you. The bond developed has effects later in your child’s life in terms of self-confidence, healthy individuation and exploration, expression of empathy, social relationships and ability to cope with life stressors" explains  Stephanie Marcy, Ph.D., a psychologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, according to their website



Babies who don’t experience cuddling have been found to have lower levels of oxytocin and vasopressin. These two hormones are believed to play key roles in stress and social behaviors. Marcy explains, "For children who are very sick and not strong enough to engage in playful interaction with their caregivers, cuddling and holding is a nice way for parents to feel that they are interacting with their child in a loving and meaningful way. This helps decrease their sense of helplessness."



Cuddling a child does more good than harm, and if you really want to help a child out, along with the parents, why not be a cuddler? Because babies who are held often and have their needs met are more likely to have higher self-image and learn they are respected and worthy. Go on, give out some cuddles, it's only going to benefit the child and the parents, and make you feel good! 






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