Bringing the human touch to babies in the NICU

Hugs and human touch are vital to the well-being of babies and to their development, but sometimes parents can’t be at the side of their newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. That’s where the No Baby Unhugged program comes in.

A $25,000 Huggies grant will help to get the program started at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital to train the volunteer huggers. Neonatologist, Dr. Sidasis Daspal, says the training is around how to hold a premature baby that may have tubes and wires everywhere, safety considerations, and what to do in an emergency.

Up until now, nurses have tried to hold the babies as much as possible, but their time is limited, so volunteers will make sure every baby in the NICU gets some hugs and cuddles. Dr. Daspaul says human touch and hugging are some of the most important stimuli that premature babies can get in the NICU in order for their brains to mature.


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