Every year, millions of kids are born prematurely, and many more are born to addicted moms. These infants require specialised care, which is frequently provided in neonatal critical care units. They may not get many interactions from nurses or caregivers in these situations.
Touch, on the other hand, is critical for a child’s growth, especially at this young age. The researchers write in a white paper for the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres (CAPHC) titled “The Power of Human Contact for Babies” that touch is crucial for a baby’s development, regardless of whether they are born full-term or preterm.
To care for these babies, many hospitals have formed their own baby cuddler or infant rocker programmes. We’d like to devote this blog to the amazing work that these cradle cuddler volunteers do, and we’ll answer some frequently asked questions below.
Is baby cuddling a real job? Can you get paid for it?
Both yes and no. Volunteering as a baby cuddler is real. However, because they are predominantly voluntary positions, they are rarely compensated. The majority of such NICU cuddlers work in hospitals where a variety of programmes have been established all around the world.
How many babies are born prematurely each year?
According to the WHO, 15 million infants are delivered prematurely over the world. The number of premature newborns born in the United States varies depending on the source, however, Chester County Hospital estimates “more than 500,000 premature infants born in the United States.” While the charity Bliss predicts that 60,000 infants are born prematurely in the United Kingdom (1 in every 13).
What are volunteer baby cuddler programs?
To survive and thrive, all newborns, including premature babies, require hugging and caressing. When a newborn is in the hospital for an extended amount of time, however, it may be difficult for the baby to receive the affection they require from caretakers or parents.
This is due to the fact that parents may have external duties such as going back to work, caring for their families, and even having medical requirements of their own. It’s possible that family members simply require some rest. Because doctors and nurses are frequently diverted to other essential activities, infants may be left alone for extended periods of time.
In the United States, babies born to addicted moms, including those who use opioids, are becoming more common. These mothers may not be able to travel to the hospitals on a daily basis if they are incarcerated or live too far away.
Volunteer newborn cuddler initiatives fill this gap. Babies benefit from contact, hugging, rocking, swaddling, and snuggling, according to hospitals. As a result, many hospitals have enlisted the help of volunteers to provide baby cuddling. This has all been going on in some US hospitals since the 1980s.
“There are those parents who yearn to be with their babies but can’t be here,” Lynne Thomson, NICU Nurse Manager at Saint Luke’s, noted in an article for Next Avenue. So knowing that someone will be holding their infant offers them peace of mind. It’s great to know you have a support system.”
What does a baby cuddler do?
A baby cuddler’s job is to assist infants in maturing, meeting their emotional requirements, and allowing babies to leave earlier. A baby cuddler’s responsibilities may include:
- Singing or talking to the babies
- Providing touch (hugs, swaddling, cuddles, etc.)
- Read to them
- Soothing them
A member of the hospital’s staff usually supervises the volunteer NICU cuddlers. Baby cuddlers do not change the babies’ diapers or feed them. But if some parents need care products for both mothers and babies, they can buy newborn baby products Malaysia here. Mamacliqs provide a lot of products such as baby use shampoo, diapers, lotion, etc. There are also products for mothers, such as maternity cloth, nursing pads, and others.
What does scientific investigation say about a baby cuddling by volunteers?
More than 600 academic articles have been published on the effects of touch on babies, according to with CAPHC white paper. Physiological, psychological, cognitive, and social development can all benefit from touch. Massaging and gentle stroking have been demonstrated to assist in sleep regulation and the release of oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. The CAPHC white paper also lists the following benefits of touch:
- Pain relief
- Physiological stability
- More regulated sleep
- Weight gain and growth
- Reduced time in hospital
Are infant rocking programs popular?
According to a 2017 BBC News report, hospitals in the United States were “inundated” with requests to be infant cuddlers. This appears to be the case based on our investigation, as many programmes are still filled. Some programmes have waiting lists, and we’ve seen some that are completely full in the next two years and others that are no longer accepting new applicants.
Who can become a baby cuddler?
Each organization has its own set of standards for who is eligible to be an infant cuddler. Around 80% of infant cuddlers are retired in some places, such as Saint Luke’s Hospital. However, younger cuddlers are welcome as well.
How do I become a baby cuddler at a hospital?
You’ll have to go through the registration and vetting process after you’ve identified a hospital that accepts cuddlers. If you are selected, you will be given training and immunizations (if necessary), as well as the opportunity to volunteer in another department to build experience before being allowed to snuggle babies.
Where can I apply for volunteer baby cuddling?
Hospitals typically have their own baby snuggling programmes. As a result, it’s best to Google your desired location to discover whether any such programmes exist (for example, “volunteer baby cuddler programme New York”). Alternatively, you could inquire directly with your desired hospital about cuddling programmes and how to enrol. Each institution will have its own application process that must be followed.
Do cuddle volunteers benefit as well?
Cuddlers may gain from the hormone release connected with touching, as well as from volunteering. Volunteering has been suggested as a way of reducing loneliness, increasing self-confidence, and making us happy.
What kind of training is required to volunteer as a baby cuddler?
Each hospital or organisation will have its own orientation and training programme. As a result, training differs from one institution to the next. Some hospitals ask volunteers to get experience in other areas in addition to completing instruction before beginning to swaddle babies. To learn much more about the application and training process, contact your selected hospital or go to their website.