Next Avenue: Retired Adults Volunteer as Baby Cuddlers

June 21, 2018

Baby cuddlers are hospital volunteers extensively trained in Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the country. 

Cuddlers provide therapeutic talk and touch — they don’t feed the babies, change their diapers or walk around with them, said Lynne Thomson, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse manager at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. They simply hold the infants and read, talk or sing to them when the families can’t be at the hospital because of work, school or other child care commitments.

The nurse’s job is to monitor vital signs, Thomson said. The baby cuddler’s job is to help the infants developmentally mature so they can go home to their families as soon as possible.

“There are some parents who long to be with their babies, but can’t be here,” Thomson explained. “So it gives them peace of mind to know that someone is going to be holding their baby. It feels good to know you have a village.”

Read more about the benefits of cuddling not only for the babies, but for the volunteers too, at Next Avenue: Retired Adults Volunteer as Baby Cuddlers.
 

Carol Hayward, 72, of Kansas City, Kan., cuddling a baby at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City
Carol Hayward, of Kansas City, Kan., cuddling a baby at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City

 

Bob McElwain of Kansas City, Mo., soothes fussy babies at Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City
Bob McElwain of Kansas City, Mo., soothes fussy babies at Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City