There are few things that evoke the powerful sense of love and care like rocking a baby to sleep.
After all, what’s more innocent and pure than something that’s not long been born? Something that’s new to the world and, as a result, as yet to be soiled or spoiled by it?
Unfortunately, though most babies are born healthy and happy, there are many who aren’t. What’s more, there is a surprising amount being born with opioid withdrawal symptoms, through absolutely no fault of their own. In fact – and yes, this number is shocking – experts at the National Institute of Drug Abuse believe as many as one baby every fifteen minutes is born with an opioid addiction-related problem.
The solution? Well, it could well be found in cuddles.
The babies of addicts are hospitalized after birth in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. It’s common practise for the ICU to then organize volunteers to work as what they term “baby cuddlers”.
This most satisfying of part-time projects is in place in states including Iowa, Virginia, Massachusetts and San Antonio, though it’s in the latter where the need for baby cuddlers is most dire. So much so, in fact, that University Hospital in Bexar Country is actively searching for them.
According to reports, the affected babies suffer with seizures, tremors, increased reflexes, body stiffness and tight muscles. Some even have difficulty breathing, which is of course unacceptable.
And yet something as simple as a cuddle can make a world of difference. Touch soothes the babies and helps them to sleep, while Vicki Agnitsch, a former nurse, says it reduces the need for medication.
“When they know someone else is touching them, it gives them that warmth and safety and security that they crave,” she said, as per Hearty Soul.
“They had that inside the mom, and then they come out into this cold, bright world. They don’t have that, so all of that swaddling, touch, and talk helps their development.”
With the first signs of improvement noticed within a few weeks, it certainly seems as though baby-cuddling is as beneficial – for all parties – as it sounds. Why not get in touch with your local hospital and see if they have a similar program!
We take our hats off to all the wonderful people undertaking this beautiful and important task.
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