A new program has been set up in hospitals and care centers in the United States. It aims to find volunteers who want to provide love and physical comfort to vulnerable babies, born to mothers who are dependent on painkillers or heroin.
These babies spend weeks if not months in the hospital to be delivered from the drugs to which they have been exposed in the womb. Their mothers are often absent because they have to participate to rehabilitation programs.
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drugs taken during pregnancy. This includes crying, fever, rapid breathing, seizures, sleep disturbances, tremor, or vomiting.
The medical staff noted that the presence of these “cuddling” volunteers (to cuddle, sing, or whisper to baby’s ears) had a positive effect on these newborns. It has reduced the amount of medication they need and shortened their stay’s duration in the hospital.
The Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, in Philadelphia even gives training to these volunteers. Once trained and happy, they will spend three hours working on their shifts.