: Cuddling babies in intensive care: Volunteers are part of ‘an amazing process’

by | Sep 12, 2023 | Stock Market

Irv Williams first got to know the NICU, or neonatal intensive care unit, eight years ago when his grandson needed to spend time there as a newborn.  Now Williams volunteers alongside the devoted caregivers who helped his grandson at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. His job: spending time cuddling and holding sick or preterm babies until they are well enough to go home.

Williams calls himself a volunteer cuddler, rocker or holder. He spends four to five hours twice a week snuggling babies, singing old camp songs and reading books to them.  “People might think it’s nutty to be reading to a newborn baby, but it helps with language skills. The environment they’re in is different than home. They’re not hearing voices — they’re hearing beeping machines,” Williams says.  Read: The volunteer rate among retirees is depressingly low. Here’s how to change that. Cuddlers do more than provide comfort. Research shows that infants with drugs in their system who were cuddled by volunteers had shorter stays in the hospital than those who weren’t. Volunteering with children came naturally to Williams, 72, who spent his career in education, working with students ranging from the preschool years through university.  “This is a continuation of my career,” says Williams, who has been a NICU cuddler for about four years. Some infants weigh as little as 2 pounds and spend six months or more in the NICU before they are strong enough to go home. “I really get to know these little people. It’s an amazing feeling. W …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This