US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal

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Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a severe crisis affecting millions of newborn babies born to mothers who may have been addicts.

US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a severe crisis affecting millions of newborn babies born to mothers who may have been addicts. The number of infants born with this particular kind of withdrawal syndrome is increasing at a worrisome rate in the country and has become a national phenomenon that requires urgent attention. According to a report by KCCI News, The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that every fifteen minutes, one baby suffering from opioid withdrawal is born. With withdrawal symptoms starting as soon as their birth, most of these babies end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).



US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal

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Such babies are often dangerously ill or born prematurely, and in need of all the care they can get. In an attempt to provide them some comfort, hospitals across America are now implementing 'baby cuddlers' programs where volunteers can sign up to give the infants the much needed human connection. Vicki Agnitsch, a retired nurse, is one of the 22 volunteers of the Cuddler Volunteer program at Blank Children’s Hospital and is quite aware of just how important human touch and warmth is to newborns who end up in NICU.


US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal

Getty Images


US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal

Getty Images


With the number increasing day by day, several hospitals are putting out the call for more cuddlers, including University Hospital in San Antonio. Doug Walters, an Army Veteran and retired software engineer, has been a volunteer for the hospital's cuddling program for more than three years. Having provided comfort to many babies in this duration, Walters is quite familiar with the variety of symptoms babies born with NAS struggle with. From tight muscles that lead to body stiffness, hyperactive reflexes, tremors and seizures, to trouble feeding and gastrointestinal problems, the veteran is now able to recognize the distinct, high-pitched cry of such babies quickly.

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Thinking Humanity: US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal
US Hospitals Are Looking For 'Baby Cuddlers' To Comfort Babies Struggling With Opioid Withdrawal
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a severe crisis affecting millions of newborn babies born to mothers who may have been addicts.
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