Research has shown that the benefit of touch and cuddling to a newborn cannot be taken for granted.
It was also found that human touch plays a major role in the progression of infant neurodevelopmental function.
I’m sure you’ve seen how newborns are placed on the chest of their mothers immediately after birth? This is done to develop a mutual bond between mother and child.
However, not all babies get to enjoy this mutual bond, especially premature babies. They spend more time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, often separated from their parents due to some serious health issues caused during their birth, or by addiction obtained from their mothers.
It is during this period that hospitals give opportunities to baby cuddlers to hold and cuddle the babies, while their parents are away. These baby cuddlers are a group of volunteers, who spend time holding babies in the NICU in shifts throughout the day.
As you read on, we will show you reasons why you should volunteer as a baby cuddler and how you can become a baby cuddler in a hospital.
Can You Volunteer to Hold Babies in the Hospital?
Yes, you can. Hospitals now organize cuddling programs in their hospitals because of the sheer need for touch to newborns.
Why should you Volunteer as a Baby Cuddler?
Just as adults receive comfort through touch, the same applies to newborns. They experience the release of oxytocin, endorphin, and serotonin.
Most times, preterm babies and babies just recovering from maternal drug use are especially irritable, and sometimes difficult to console.
During this period, babies spend more time than normal in the NICU. And it happens that those parents are often separated from their babies during this period, because of their jobs, family, or even the health of the mother.
This is why baby cuddlers are needed the most. Cuddler volunteers undertake special training to interact with NICU babies when their parents cannot be with them at the hospital. The thought that “some people are available to take care of my baby” gives parents a sense of extra comfort and joy.
Baby cuddlers are given special training on how to talk to, read to, sing to and touch newborns.
This assistance provided by baby cuddlers, helps premature babies grow faster, sleep better, and go home quickly. It is always a thing of joy for nurses to have an extra set of hands to hold, and comfort babies when parents can’t be at the bedside.
Read: 15 Best Volunteering At Hospitals Abroad Programs In 2022
How Can One Find Volunteering Opportunities to Become a Baby cuddler?
Currently, the NICU of hospitals is offering baby cuddling programs to reduce the burden of staff and parents.
However, most of these hospitals don’t provide national directories on how to reach them. Provided below are some ways to go about finding volunteering opportunities as a baby cuddler.
The first step to take is to search using Google, a hospital with a baby cuddler program.
You can also contact your local hospital and ask if they accept volunteers directly for the position of a baby cuddler.
Many hospitals will indicate on their website, the volunteering position available. If there is no provision for a baby cuddler, you can email the volunteer coordinator to know more about the position.
Once you’ve found the appropriate hospital offering a baby cuddling program, research the requirements for the position of a baby cuddler. Most hospitals include a list of requirements on their volunteer webpage. For instance, some hospitals require volunteers to be at least 18 years of age, the minimum number of hours they can be available each week, they are also required to complete a health assessment, have a criminal background check performed, provide an up-to-date vaccination certificate and so on.
The next thing is to ensure you have all the necessary information before applying for the position.
TEN BEST VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES WITH BABIES IN THE HOSPITAL.
1. NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital:
Baby cuddlers in New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital have a special liking for newborns needing some extra TLC. These cuddlers hold and swaddle babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, under the supervision of medical staff members.
These babies tend to gain weight quicker, and experience all-around development due to the help they get from the cuddlers.
The hospital is looking for a calm, nurturing, responsible, patient, and reliable person that is comfortable around babies.
TIME: From 10 am to 9:00 pm.
- Volunteers must not be less than 18 years old
- Must be ready to commit to a shift of one to two hours per week for six months.
Presently, the baby cuddler program is full at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, but you can volunteer to other units of the hospital pending this period.
2. Stony Brook Children’s Hospital:
This is a special unit of Stony Brook University Hospital. Here, baby cuddlers are specially trained to rock babies, sing lullabies and provide that all-important human touch – providing the emotional and social healing needed for the quick development of the babies.
Volunteers in SBCH undergo screenings and training on privacy laws and disease control. To volunteer as a baby cuddler, you must be willing to sacrifice a minimum of three hours a week for at least eight months or a total of 100 hours.
Time: The shift runs seven days a week between 7:00 am and 8:30 pm.
There is no age limit to Volunteering with SBHU. The opportunities are extended to people of all ages including middle and high school students of 14, as well as college students who may be seeking ways to serve the community, while at the same time exploring their own career options.
Volunteers that are between 14 and 17 are enrolled as junior volunteers. While those that are 18 years of age or older are considered senior volunteers.
Other Criteria to consider before you are accepted into the program, include:
- The completion of an application, which includes a medical reference signed by your physician,
- You are also to attend an orientation program and you would be given a medical clearance from SBUH Employee Health Service.
To know more about this opportunity, you can click on this link: [email protected]
Read Also: Top 15 Organizations That Give Volunteering Certificates In 2022
3. ICN AIR CUDDLER PROGRAM:
This is a baby cuddling program set up by the Health University of Utah. The reason for setting up this program is to provide comfort and human touch to their little patients.
Location: 50 North Medical Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84132
To qualify as a baby cuddler in ICN the following are required:
- Volunteers must complete department-specific training/competency.
- They must be reliable, attentive, and willing to learn while maintaining a compassionate attitude.
- Volunteers must be ready to follow all universal precautions and infectious disease guidelines to protect patients and themselves.
- Volunteers must be able to recognize changes in patient status and demonstrate safe handling of infants.
- Must be teachable.
Time: Shift runs from Monday–Sunday, 4-hour shifts from 9am–9pm.
Learn more about the opportunity in the link provided below: Visit Hospital
4. Intermountain Medical Center:
IMC is a center specifically designed to run a volunteer newborn cuddling program to help offset early trauma, and likely developmental delays in newborns. Its major aim is at soothing premature infants ranging from premature, to larger, full-term babies, as well as infants suffering from maternal drug-use withdrawal.
Cuddler volunteers are taken through trainings on how to interact with NICU babies during the periods when their parents cannot be with them at the hospital. And the parents are always happy, knowing there are people available to take care of their babies in their absence.
Here are some requirements to qualify as a Baby Cuddler in Intermountain Medical Center:
- Volunteer must be at least 18 years old or older
- Must currently be a hospital volunteer and need to fill the regular weekly four-hour shift other volunteers fill.
- Must have at least 80 hours of service as a volunteer at Intermountain Healthcare.
- Volunteers must be ready to fill shifts of two or three hours holding babies in the NICU
- Volunteers must complete all the NICU training before becoming qualified baby cuddlers.
Learn more here: Visit intermountainhealthcare
5. CHESTER COUNTY HOSPITAL:
In order to ensure that all babies get the hugs they need to flourish, the Huggies No Baby Unhugged” grant of $10,000 was awarded to Chester County Hospital to help establish a volunteer newborn-hugging program.
Location:701 E. Marshall Street, West Chester, PA 19380
- Volunteers are required to go through the interview process and to attend the hospital’s orientation.
- Must attend an eight hours training program taught by NICU and Pediatrics staff.
- Volunteers must pass a background check and health screening.
- Must have child abuse clearances.
- The volunteer must be 21 years or older.
- Must have previous experience on how to handle a baby.
- Volunteers must pass the annual competency test.
6. Sharp Mary Birch Memorial Hospital:
This is a non-profit healthcare organization in San Diego with the mission of improving the health of people.
Location: 7901 Frost St, San Diego, CA 92123
- To become a volunteer baby cuddler in SMBMH, you must have had at least six months of volunteer experience in any other unit within the hospital.
- Must have had at least 100 volunteer hours.
- You must have cleared some volunteer checks and must have undergone cuddler specific training.
- You must also be ready to attend a 45 minutes online volunteer information session and take part in training.
- Complete health screening which includes TB testing.
- If you are 18 years or older, you are eligible for this opportunity.
7. CONNECTICUT CHILDRENS MEDICAL CENTER
CCMC works with volunteers in order to match their changing needs with their personal schedules and preferences. CCMC relies on over 300 volunteers who generously give their time to help provide the care babies deserve.
Locations: 282 Washington Street Hartford, CT 06106
To volunteer at the neonatal intensive care unit, you must not be less than 21 years or older.
You must be a person who is always ready to assist staff members with daily tasks.
It runs its shift throughout the week, which includes the weekends.
Are you desirous of becoming a volunteer in CCMC you can click on this link : visit connecticut
8. BROOKWOOD BAPTIST HOSPITAL
Brookwood Baptist Hospital just launched a cuddler program, which was carefully planned to enable volunteers to hold, rock, and sooth babies in the NICU. The program was set up with the main purpose of promoting growth and helping with the babies’ maturity. BH presently has only three approved volunteer cuddlers.
Location:1720Valley View Drive Birmingham, AL 35209
- Volunteers are to go through a rigorous background check, and training.
- Must be ready to put in 75 hours volunteering in other units, before qualifying as a baby cuddler.
- Complete an application.
- Attend orientation.
Be ready to give 4hours of your time every week with a minimum of 100 hours a year.
Purchase a uniform
9. Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children:
They have a special program called “Baby Buddy” The program is currently full and is not accepting volunteers.
You can learn more about other Opportunities via this link: visit hospital
Read: 10 Best Child Volunteering Opportunities Abroad In 2022
10. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital:
This is a children’s hospital located at Eaton Road Liverpool, L12 2AP. They do not have volunteer opportunities for cuddlers at the moment.
However, to Volunteer in other units of the hospital, here are some requirements that must be met:
- Complete the online form.
- When you have submitted your application form, you will be contacted by the volunteer team and if successful invited to an online recruitment session.
- The age range as a volunteer is 16 years of age or older.
- You must be able to commit to your volunteering role for a minimum of 6 months for 4 hours per week.
All volunteers must complete the following recruitment process:
- Online recruitment session
- Enhanced adult and child DBS (provided by the Trust)
- Occupational Health check
- 2 references
- Online mandatory training
- Complete a 6 week induction period
Learn more about Alder Hey Children’s Hospital by clicking the link below: Click Here.
The amazing part of being a volunteer baby cuddler is that you can provide comfort and care to the newborns, when their parents aren’t around.
You are helping to save a life that is at risk, helping a baby get out of hospital quickly and you are also helping to put a smile on the faces of parents, who find it difficult to balance their time between the hospital, work and taking care of themselves.