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Care to Cuddle? Cuddle Programs for Drug Addicted Babies

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Many people volunteer for very rewarding reasons and opportunities. Others are unsure there’s a project or a goal that’s just the right fit for them. Well due to life circumstances, for reasons that aren’t within their control, there are babies that need volunteers who are willing to cuddle them, and that’s got to be one of the most mutually rewarding chances to volunteer we’ve ever heard of!

Care to Cuddle? Neonatal Units Across the Country Are Implementing Cuddle Programs for Drug Addicted Babies

Photo: Pixabay

Some babies are born addicted to drugs as a result of the pregnancy they developed from. In 2016, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that the incidence of babies being born addicted to opioids alone had increased from 1.5 per every 1,000 born in 1999 to 6 per every 1,000 born in 2013. That’s more than triple the rate in just over a 10-year study period. And, this was based on only 28 states that had opioid addiction data that was publicly accessible.

Care to Cuddle? Neonatal Units Across the Country Are Implementing Cuddle Programs for Drug Addicted Babies

Photo: Pixabay

The opportunity to hug and snuggle these special babies who are born addicted to drugs has proven to be extremely beneficial to their healing. The increasing number of newborns suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) as a result of parents struggling with drug addiction requires that a special amount of care is given in order for them to survive. They were exposed to drugs in the womb, and at birth, they begin going through an excruciating withdrawal process. A valuable component for them to have success in pulling through are specially-trained volunteer cuddlers supporting their efforts.

Care to Cuddle? Neonatal Units Across the Country Are Implementing Cuddle Programs for Drug Addicted Babies

Photo: Pexels

In many instances, women who are addicted to drugs that become pregnant are given opioids like methadone in an effort to do as little harm as possible to the developing fetus. This, as opposed to harder drugs like heroin or crack, can still do profound amounts of damage to the unborn child, however, and can result in a level of suffering their tiny bodies aren’t often prepared to handle. At the same time, they’re going through withdrawal in the neonatal units of hospitals across the country, in some instances, their moms are undergoing withdrawal and treatment in conjunction, and are therefore absent during the first critical weeks or months of their babies’ lives. Symptoms of the babies’ withdrawals can range from crying to refusing food, to shaking, and even vomiting. It’s not something they can control, but in the process, a trained individual to volunteer care for them in the hospital is a crucial component to their chances of survival.

Care to Cuddle? Neonatal Units Across the Country Are Implementing Cuddle Programs for Drug Addicted Babies

Photo: Pexels

Texas is no exception in the increasing number of states which are instituting programs in neonatal intensive care units to work to combat the issue. Volunteers at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas are giving their time and care in both the Child Life Cuddling Care Program and the Child Life Pediatric Unit for the care of babies that are born addicted and require additional attention. The former program has a 3-hour shift each week, as well as a possible waiting list for the opportunity (because who wouldn’t want to cuddle these sweet peas?) The latter has 4-hour shifts from Monday to Friday and allows for playtime opportunities for babies and their siblings. There are varying volunteer requirements which are required for each program, and those wanting to learn more can email [email protected]. This and other hospitals throughout the state are or will be implementing such programs as this issue worsens. Contact your local healthcare provider for more opportunities like this throughout the state of Texas, and help a newborn get a more solid start in life with a simple cuddle.

Sources:

Simplemost

Babble

Woman’s Hospital of Texas