Calling all cuddlers!
A hospital in North Carolina is looking for people who love to cuddle to help relieve the stress of newborn babies with long hospital stays.
Doctors at UNC-Rex Birth Center are looking for volunteers to spend time with little ones in the intensive care unit at the hospital, WRAL reported this week.
“A lot of our babies tend to have long periods of stay. If they’re born prematurely, they can be here for a couple of months,” said Marie Ambroise Thigpen, a doctor at the hospital.
The bustling environment of the hospital’s NICU can cause stress for the babies, Thigpen said, “It’s bright and it’s noisy … we have to draw blood from them.”
But the power of human touch helps calm the babies down and can even help lower their heart rate, the outlet reported.
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“It decreases pain, it decreases the baby’s stress and it helps promote healing,” said registered nurse Nicole Ross. “It helps with brain development, and it helps decrease their length of stay.”
Not only do the cuddles benefit the newborns, but also the parents and the volunteers themselves, something that volunteer Kelli Ready can attest to.
“This is exciting for me … to get to come and snuggle babies,” she told the outlet. “I just feel like I’ve done something great for the babies to hopefully relieve their stress and improve their day.”
It also gives new mothers peace of mind: “Knowing that he’s in great hands has been a great, tremendous comfort,” Jennifer Majure told WRAL. Majure has a 2-month-old son that she sometimes leaves with the volunteers and has used the spare time to set up his nursery.