Newborn Cuddling Is the Best Volunteering You Can Do This Holiday Season
Yesterday, I posted a call-out on my Facebook page asking my fellow moms for ideas about how my family could volunteer this holiday season. I genuinely have been looking for some ways to give back and get involved.
I received some great ideas, such as donating toys or performing random acts of kindness around town, like dropping off hot chocolate to bell ringers or paying for someone's meal, and I was grateful for all the responses.
But, guys. Clearly I should have read about this opportunity first, because it has to be the single greatest volunteer gig on the planet: how about volunteering for “cuddle therapy,” when you could literally cuddle newborn babies?
At a Canadian hospital, volunteers are assigned to perform cuddle therapy to newborns on a regular basis. And yes, “cuddle therapy” is an actual technical term because it has so many benefits for babies to be touched and held.
The benefits of cuddle therapy include stabilizing the baby's temperature, helping them deal with the stress of the hospital noise and light and environment, and even helping them to gain weight. Babies are meant to be held, so it all makes sense.
The newborns that generally need the cuddle therapy are patients in the NICU unit and may need extra care because their parents can not be there 24/7 or they may be infants whose parents are unavailable for different reasons. During nursing school, I did get to perform cuddle therapy on several infants who were unfortunately abandoned at the hospital or whose parents were unable to care for them due to drug addictions. It was very sad and I'll never forget holding those babies, because it was a healing time for both of us.
Want to sign up to be a professional baby cuddler? Call up your local hospital and ask for volunteer opportunities, especially if they have a NICU unit. You'll most likely need to go through some training (it's usually free) and get a background check, along with drug testing, but the benefits of giving back in a way that literally lets you cuddle babies all day will be well worth the time trade-off.
And although my arms are full at the moment with my own kiddos at home, I can't wait to give back someday at the hospital again. There are babies to be held and even though it's a tough job, someone has to do it, right?
How do you plan on giving back this holiday season?