As there is an opioid epidemic nationwide, millions of babies are bring born suffering from opioid withdrawal every fifteen minutes.
The poor babies are born suffering in pain before they experience anything else when they come to this world.
Being born from mothers that suffer from addiction the babies end up in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – an ICU for infants. Hospitals across the country receive volunteer help by citizens aka ‘baby cuddlers’.
These volunteers give love and affection to these babies and rock the infants to sleep.
An Army Veteran, Doug Walters was among the first to volunteer and has been a part-time baby cuddler for over three years now.
The infants experience anything from seizures, increased reflexes, body stiffness, tremors, overly and tight muscles.
They usually let out a high-pitched shriek, which is an identifiable cry from this syndrome.
Doug explains that babies who have a NAS cry, don’t understand what’s happening, and they don’t understand why things hurt.
Nurse Laurie Weaver, who has worked in the NICU for 27 years, asays there are three to four hundred born with the syndrome annually in Bexar County.
At the hospital, she says that they can have three and four babies assigned to them a day.
Dr. Meredith Flores, a pediatrician says they notice a big difference in the scores (in) the babies that either the mom, or a volunteer, or someone is there holding them all day.
Former nurse Vicki Agnitsch, who is a part of the Cuddler Volunteer program at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, says that touch is extremely important for babies.
Cuddling the infants means it reduces the need for administered medications.
Cheryl Poelma, director of women says that these babies are not coordinated with their suck, they cannot eat well and they may sneeze a lot.
Volunteers sit, and rock the infants, holding them tight.
Just in a few weeks the infants show the first signs of improvements.
Published a list of some other hospitals where you can offer your services:
The Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, in Philadelphia.
The Boston Medical Center has a program called CALM – Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and Infant Stress.
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh.
The Woman’s Hospital of Texas.
The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Centre.
Miller Children’s Hospital.
University of Chicago Medicine.