Brookwood Baptist launches Cuddle Program in their Level III NICU

Volunteer Charlene Ryan cuddles one of the babies in the Level III NICU

The human touch can work wonders. That is on display at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center.

The hospital recently launched a Cuddle Program in their Level III NICU. In this program, well-established hospital volunteers hold, rock and comfort babies. Doctors say the interaction like this can help promote faster weight gain, shorter stays in the hospital and improvements socially, physically and emotionally.

Charlene Ryan is one of the volunteers in the program. Her son was born premature at Brookwood almost 20 years ago. For her, volunteering brings her full circle.

"For me, to be able to come in here and help out another parent, who can't be here, which I totally understand," Ryan said. "At the time, my son was in school, and I had to be with him too, so it was fabulous. To look down at them, and they are just so sweet and gorgeous. I love it. It is one of those things I have always wanted to do, and I am so happy that I can finally be a part of it."

Doctors and nurses make the decisions in terms of when a baby benefits from a cuddler. Cuddlers are held to strict hygiene policies, infection control procedure and adhere to all NICU practices and policies.

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