Every mother remembers the first time she held her newborn. The smell of them, their warmth and just how exquisite it felt. Instinctively, cuddling our children comes naturally to us, what you may not know is just how important those first cuddles are to your baby’s future. Medical studies show cuddles benefit babies in many vital ways beyond simply developing a stronger bond between baby and parent. Some of these benefits include stabilizing heart rate, improving sleep and fostering healthy brain development. So, what happens when a baby doesn’t get this critical action?
Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond control, new babies are unable to get the full advantages that touch, like hugging and rocking provide. Recognising the need, Huggies has partnered with the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres on their Huggies No Baby Unhugged Program. This initiative is providing special training to volunteer ‘huggers’ across Canada who will sit with (and cuddle!) newborns and babies in the paediatric intensive care and neonatal units of hospitals. We had the unique opportunity to visit Victoria General Hospital and see the program in action!
Often these huggers are offering respite to parents who are already living in extremely stressful situations. We had a change to meet Cindy, a first-time mom who’s adorable 10-month-old son Gabe has been in hospital since birth. It is paramount to Cindy that Gabe be touched in a loving, gentle way as he has already experienced more uncomfortable touching than any baby should endure. Cindy spends every day at the hospital with Gabe concentrating exclusively on his care and these huggers give Cindy an opportunity to pay attention to the other aspects of her life – take a shower, run errands, or simply go for a walk to clear her head, knowing
Gabe is receiving a loving touch while she is away.
The gift of a hug holds more power than one might imagine, visit NoBabyUnhugged.ca for more information on this initiative and how you can get involved.