If you have the love and the time, you may find that your special calling in the world is being a “baby cuddler” at a local hospital. I’m going to tell you what that means and how you can help.
What Is a Baby Cuddler?
It is exactly what it sounds like. Volunteers go into NICU units in hospitals around the country and hold babies.
Sometimes babies in the NICU don’t have parents there with them 24/7. It’s understandable that Mom and Dad have to go home to be with their other kids, or go to a job, or just need to get some much-needed sleep. Having you stand in the gap and love on their baby when they can’t be there will give those parents so much solace.
Some babies are born of drug-addicted moms who may be neither willing nor capable of giving the special kind of love babies need. Those babies can suffer all sorts of horrible problems that fall under the heading of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
NAS may mean that a baby is born prematurely, or that it has seizures and/or birth defects. Some babies have tremors, tight muscles, vomiting, sleep problems, and trouble eating and breathing. Babies from moms who abused drugs are also prone to high-pitched, excessive crying.
If I’m being honest, it’s hard for me to even write about. Picturing those tiny, precious angels suffering from such violent and ugly problems hurts me so badly, I can barely think about it. You probably feel the same way.
Before I go any further, if you or someone you love is pregnant and addicted to drugs or alcohol, there is help for you. Talk to your doctor right away and click here to find help through your state.
As a baby cuddler volunteer, your job is to give babies what doctors say is so very important – skin to skin contact and human comfort.
You don’t walk around with the baby, nor do you feed it. You’ll sit with it and simply be present. You can sing, or talk, rock or pat. Doesn’t matter so long as that fragile treasure feels loved and safe in the arms of someone who cares.
The hospital where you volunteer will train you, but you already know the most important part.
Your love is genuinely healing.
When a baby is swaddled safely in the arms of someone who cares, science has proven again and again and again that healing is happening.
There is no higher calling than to love one another, and loving a baby is a legacy we can leave that could potentially last for generations. An infant who is loved can grow into a Mom or Dad who has children and then grandchildren.
How to Become a Baby Cuddler
Don’t expect to show up at a NICU and pick up a baby. For good reason, that’s not the way volunteering as a baby cuddler works.
Each hospital has its own rules and needs. Sometimes hospitals will call upon the public via TV interviews or on hospital websites. I would suggest that you call the hospitals in your area and speak to someone in charge of volunteer services.
You can also visit Born to Kuddle where you’ll find a state by state list of volunteering opportunities.
Would you like to be a baby cuddler? Have you already volunteered in a NICU? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments. If you have additional info that would help folks find a way to help, tell us about it.