Volunteer For Baby Cuddlers

If you’re interested in becoming a baby cuddler, look for listing of hospitals with a program. You can also contact your local hospital and ask if they accept volunteers directly for the position of baby cuddler. Most hospitals will indicate on their website which volunteer positions need to be filled.

Becoming a volunteer baby cuddler may not only be a rewarding experience, but also a lot of fun. Don’t worry if you want to stay at home with your own new baby – because volunteers with babies under one year of age can be accepted. Becoming a baby cuddler is easy. First you need to find an organization that needs your help, or look on the website of your local hospital to see if they have an opening for volunteers. Most hospitals will indicate which volunteer positions need to be filled on their website.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer baby cuddler, the first step is to locate a hospital with a program. If there isn’t one in your town, check with other hospitals in the area to see if they have any openings.

There are many ways to volunteer at hospitals and many different types of volunteer positions. If you enjoy spending time with children, then becoming a baby cuddler is a great way to make yourself useful at the hospital and also help out families that may be struggling.

Baby Cuddler Volunteer Houston

Babies who are born prematurely, have a serious health issue, or are suffering from some form of addiction will often spend considerable amounts of time in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). During this time, they are often separated from their parents for significant amounts of time. Baby cuddlers are a group of volunteers who spend time holding babies throughout the day so that they experience the physical contact and love that is needed during infancy. In order to volunteer as a hospital baby cuddler you will need to research programs in your area, apply to volunteer, and complete all training courses.

  1. 1Locate a hospital with a baby cuddler program. Complete a Google search to determine if your local hospital has a volunteer baby cuddler program. For example, you could search “volunteer baby cuddler programs in Toronto.” This will provide you with a number of hospitals in the area that have volunteer positions for baby cuddlers.
    • You can also contact your local hospital and ask if they accept volunteers directly for the position of baby cuddler.
    • Most hospitals will indicate on their website which volunteer positions need to be filled. If baby cuddler is not listed, you can email the volunteer coordinator to find out if they are accepting applications for that position.
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  2. 2Read up on the volunteer requirements. Once you have located a hospital that contains a volunteer baby cuddler program, you will need to read up on the volunteer requirements. Most hospitals include a list of requirements on their volunteer webpage.[2]
    • For example, volunteers need to be at least 18 years of age, they need to be able to volunteer a minimum number of hours each week, complete a health assessment, have a criminal background check performed, provide an up-to-date vaccination certificate, etc.
    • Some hospitals will also have student volunteer programs for individuals under the age of 18.
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  3. 3Gather all material needed for the application. Once you have determined what information is required in order to volunteer at this hospital, you will need to gather all of the relevant material. For example, you may need to get a criminal background check completed in order to be accepted as a volunteer. You may also need to get an annual flu shot.
    • Make sure you have all of the information needed before applying.
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Method2Applying for a Volunteer PositionDownload Article

  1. 1Fill out an application. In order to apply for a volunteer position, you will need to fill out an application form. These forms will ask a number of questions including:[3]
    • Name, address, phone number, date of birth, education, employment information, volunteer experience, availability, etc.
  2. 2Find references. Most volunteers also have to provide the hospital with the contact information for two to three references. These references should not be family members or close friends unless you have worked for them in the past. In some cases, your references are expected to fill out a form answering questions about you. In other instances, the hospital will contact the reference and ask them a few questions about you.
    • Choose references that will speak highly about your work ethic, reliability, friendliness, and professionalism.
    • For example, you could ask a current/former boss, employer, or volunteer coordinator that you have worked with.
    • Always notify your references before you include them in an application. This way they will be expecting the hospital to contact them.
  3. 3Complete an interview. Most hospitals interview potential volunteers before accepting them. This allows the volunteer manager the opportunity to get to know the applicant and assess them in person. In order to prepare for the interview, you should make sure that you have all of your required documents completed. You can also create a list of questions that you would like to ask during the interview.[4]
    • For example, you may want to ask “What does the training program entail?”, “Can I request to work in a specific area of the hospital?”, “Do baby cuddlers require any additional training?”
    • Arrive for your interview on time and dress in a professional manner.

Method3Completing Training and Finding a PositionDownload Article

  1. 1Complete volunteer training programs. Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, you will likely need to complete some form of training program. This could include watching health and safety videos as well as learning about the policies and procedures of the hospital environment. Baby cuddlers may need to complete additional training concerning bedside manner and how to handle infants.[5]
    • Take your training seriously. Pay attention, take notes, and ask questions if you need clarification.
  2. 2Request a position as a baby cuddler. If you are mainly interested in working as a baby cuddler, you should speak with the volunteer coordinator. Ask if there are any openings available in the NICU for volunteer baby cuddlers. Alternatively, you could let your supervisor know that you are interested in the baby cuddling program.
  3. 3Add your name to the waitlist. Baby cuddling is a highly sought after volunteer position in hospitals. As a result, many of these positions are filled. Ask if you can have your name added to the waiting list so that if a position opens up in the future, you will be considered.
    • Continue to volunteer in other areas of the hospital in order to demonstrate your enthusiasm.

Register as a baby cuddler and start volunteering! Baby cuddlers comfort, play with and spend time with hospitalized newborns. The experience is rewarding for both parent and child, with positive effects that can last long after the volunteer visits end.

Baby Cuddler Volunteer Nyc

Each year millions of babies are born preterm, and many others are born to mothers with addictions. These babies require specialist care, often in neonatal intensive care units. In these settings, they may not receive much touch from either nurses or caregivers.

Yet touch is fundamental for a child’s development, especially at this early age. In a white paper published for the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres (CAPHC), entitled, ‘The Power of Human Touch for Babies’, the researchers state that regardless of whether a baby is born full term or preterm, touch is essential for enabling them to achieve their full potential.

As such, many hospitals have created their own baby cuddler or infant rocker programs to care for these babies. We’d like to dedicate this blog to the wonderful work these cradle cuddler volunteers do and will answer some common questions below.

Is baby cuddling a real job? Can you get paid for it?

Yes and no. Baby cuddler volunteering is real. However, as it’s primarily volunteering, they aren’t usually paid jobs. Most of these NICU cuddlers work in hospitals, where a number of programs have been established around the world.

How many babies are born prematurely each year?

The WHO estimates that 15 million babies are born preterm around the world. While the figures vary depending on the source, Chester County Hospital estimates there are “more than 500,000 premature babies born in the U.S.” While in the UK, the charity Bliss, estimates that around 60,000 babies (equating to 1 in every 13 babies) are born prematurely.

What are volunteer baby cuddler programs?

All babies, including premature babies need holding and cuddling to survive and thrive. However, when a baby is in hospital for a long period of time, it may not be possible for the baby to get the affection they need from nurses or parents.

This is because parents might have external obligations such as returning to work, attending to their families and may even have their own medical needs. Sometimes it may be that family members just need to take some rest. Given that Nurses and doctors are often drawn away to other urgent tasks, babies may be left on their own for long periods of time.

In the US, there is also a growing issue of babies being born to mothers with addictions, such as those who use opioids. If these mothers are incarcerated or if they live too far away, they may not be able to get to the hospital on a daily basis.

This is where volunteer infant cuddler programs come in. Hospitals know that babies benefit from touch, holding, rocking, swaddling and cuddling. Numerous hospitals have therefore recruited a volunteer base of caring baby cuddlers to cuddle babies. This has been going on since the 1980s in some US-based hospitals.

In an article for Next Avenue, Lynne Thomson, NICU Nurse Manager at Saint Luke’s, explained that, “There are some parents who long to be with their babies, but can’t be here… So it gives them peace of mind to know that someone is going to be holding their baby. It feels good to know you have a village.”

What does a baby cuddler do?

The role of a baby cuddler is to help infants mature, attend to their emotional needs and allow them to leave the hospital sooner. The duties of a baby cuddler may include:

· Talking or singing to the infants

· Providing touch (cuddles, hugs, swaddling, rocking etc.)

· Reading to them

· Soothing, rocking and swaddling

The volunteer NICU cuddlers are typically supervised by a member of staff from the hospital. Baby cuddlers don’t change diapers/nappies or feed the babies.

What does the scientific research say about volunteer baby cuddling?

According to the CAPHC white paper, more than 600 scientific papers have explored the impacts of touch for babies. Touch can help with physical, emotional, behavioural and social development. Massage and gentle stroking has been shown to help regulate sleep and releases oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. Other benefits of touch listed in the CAPHC white paper, include:

· Pain relief

· Physiological stability

· More regulated sleep

· Weight gain and growth

· Reduced time in hospital

A 2019 study published in Paediatrics & Child Health, looked at the effectiveness of volunteer infant cuddling, for those babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The pilot study was carried out at St Michael’s Hospital, which launched a volunteer cuddling program in 2015. The study set out to examine whether infant cuddling could affect the baby’s length of stay. It found that the length of stay in the neonatal intensive care unit was reduced by 6.36 days, which allowed families to be reunited at home sooner and could also result in financial savings for the hospital. Positive impacts were also noted for volunteers, staff, infants and families alike. You can read more about St Michael’s infant cuddling program here.

A paper stretching back to 1990 and published in Neonatal Network, suggests that the improved wellbeing and reduced length of stay of infants is reason enough for hospitals to implement baby cuddling programs. The paper states, “Nurse researchers have identified the value of human touch and stimulation to the development of premature infants. Although the fragile premature infant may not always appear to respond overtly, the weight gain, and social and mental development of the cuddled babies give testimony to the effectiveness of human attention.”

Are infant rocking programs popular?

A 2017 BBC News article stated that hospitals in the US were “inundated” with applications to become baby cuddlers. From the research we’ve undertaken, this still seems to be the case as many programs are full. Some programs also have waiting lists, and we’ve come across waiting lists that are full for the next two years, and others which are closed to new applications.

That being said, there are a small number of hospitals looking for volunteers (although the COVID-19 crisis has led to many volunteer programs being suspended in hospitals). For the latest information, it’s best to check your preferred hospital’s current volunteering status.

Who can become a baby cuddler?

Each institution has its own set of requirements about who can become an infant cuddler. In some places such as Saint Luke’s Hospital, around 80% of the baby cuddlers are retired. But younger cuddlers are also welcomed.

How do I become a baby cuddler at a hospital?

Once you’ve found a hospital that is accepting cuddlers, you’ll need to go through the application and vetting process. If you’re accepted, you’ll receive training and immunisations (if required) and you may also have to volunteer in other departments to gain experience, before being allowed to cuddle babies. You can follow the journey of one baby cuddler on the Born to Kuddle blog.

Where can I apply for volunteer baby cuddling? How do I know if there are volunteer baby cuddling opportunities near me?

Hospitals tend to run their own individual baby cuddling programs. As such, it’s best to google your preferred area and see if there are any existing programs available (for example, “Volunteer baby cuddler program New York”). Or you could contact your preferred hospital directly and enquire as to whether they offer cuddling programs and how to apply. Each hospital will have its own unique application process to complete.

Is there a list of organisations that offer baby cuddling?

We’ve provided a few lists below of a small selection of places offering volunteer baby cuddling in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. To check if there are any programs in your area, it’s best to search online for the most current information.

Volunteer baby cuddler programs in Australia

· Children’s Hospital Foundation

· Lyell McEwin Hospital

· Northern Health

· Royal Hobart Hospital

· Sandringham Hospital

· The Women’s Hospital

Volunteer baby cuddler programs in Canada

· CHEO

· Family and Children’s Services Niagra

· Horizon Health Network

· Island Health (Victoria General Hospital and Nanaimo General Hospital)

· Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital

· Kids Can Fly

· Michael Garron Hospital

· North York General Hospital

· Sick Kids

· St Boniface Hospital

· St Michael’s Hospital Foundation

· Terra Centre

Volunteer baby cuddler programmes in the UK

We couldn’t see any nationwide NHS baby cuddling schemes, but rather individual hospitals who offered programmes:

· Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

· Great Ormond Street Hospital

Volunteer baby cuddler programs in the US

· Aurora Healthcare

· Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

· Beth Israel Lahey Health – Beverly Hospital

· Boston Medical Center (CALM program)

· Bryan Health

· Care New England

· Children’s Hospital New Orleans

· Children’s Wisconsin

· CHOC Children’s

· Covenant Healthcare

· East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

· Freeman Health

· Geisinger

· Golisano Children’s Hospital

· Good Samaritan Hospital San Jose

· Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

· Henrico Doctors

· Indiana University Health

· Intermountain Medical Center

· Lenox Hill Hospital

· Lowell General Hospital

· Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

· Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC

· Maimonides Medical Center

· Medical Center of Trinity

· Medical City Plano

· Mercy

· Miller Children’s Hospital

· New Hanover Regional Medical Center

· RMC Health System

· Rose Medical Center

· Sharp Mary Birch

· St David’s Healthcare

· St Luke’s University Health Network

· St Mary’s Medical Center

· Stony Brook Children’s

· The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Centre

· The Woman’s Hospital of Texas

· Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

· UCI Health

· UMass Memorial Medical Center

· Unity Point Health (St. Luke’s)

· University of Chicago Medicine

· University of Utah Health

· USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital

· Valley Children’s Healthcare

· Wesley Healthcare

In the US, Huggies also launched the ‘No Baby Unhugged’ campaign, whereby they awarded $10,000 to over 30 institutions offering baby cuddling. It’s therefore possible that some of these organisations may have ongoing programs:

· Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

· Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

· Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women

· Brigid’s Path

· Chester County Hospital

· Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

· Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston

· Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

· Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters

· Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at Fox Valley

· Crouse Health

· Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children

· John Muir Health, Walnut Creek Medical Center

· Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

· Loyola University Medical Center

· Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

· Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital

· Nationwide Children’s Hospital

· Palm Beach Children’s Hospital

· Palmetto Health Richland

· Phoenix Children’s Hospital

· Rush University Children’s Hospital

· Sanford Medical Center Fargo

· Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital

· Southern Illinois Healthcare Memorial Hospital

· Southern Regional Medical Center

· St. John’s Regional Medical Center

· St. Vincent Healthcare

· Sutter Medical Center

· Tufts Medical Center

· UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland

· UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco

· University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

Another resource is the volunteering section on the Born to Kuddle website, which has information on volunteering in separate US states.

Please note the above lists are not comprehensive, and other institutions may offer cuddling programs.

I’m a parent, how do I know if my baby is eligible for cuddling?

According to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “Babies eligible for cuddling are typically 34 weeks or older, and “Level 2” patients, which means that they no longer require ventilator support (respirator or C-PAP) and are primarily in the “feeder-grower” stage. Ask your baby’s nurse if you are not sure.”

It’s therefore advisable to contact your doctor and enquire about your baby’s eligibility for cuddling, if they happen to be in a hospital that offers infant cuddling.

Do cuddle volunteers benefit as well?

Cuddlers may benefit from the release of hormones associated with touch, as well as from doing a good deed through volunteering. It’s been suggested that volunteering is a way of mitigating loneliness, improving self-confidence and can also make us happier.

What training is involved in becoming a volunteer baby cuddler?

Each hospital or institution will have its own individual training and orientation programme. As such, the training varies from institution to institution. In addition to completing training, some hospitals require volunteers to gain experience on other departments before commencing with baby swaddling. Contact your preferred hospital or visit their website to find out more about the application and training process.

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