Strangers Show up at Hospital to Do for Newborn Babies What Their Moms Can’t

volunteer to hold newborns in hospital

In Córdoba, a city in Argentina, a team of 49 women and 1 man, volunteer to hold newborns in the hospital. They take two-hour shifts holding babies in their arms so they won’t be left alone for too long in the incubators.

The moms and dads of the babies are absent because of work, substance abuse, incarceration, injury, or even death. While it is heartbreaking to think that a parent wouldn’t be able to hold their baby, having the volunteers there to step in is a blessing.

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Why Holding Babies is Important

Holding babies speeds up their neurological development, helps them gain weight, acclimate to the world, and sleep more soundly. All great things for a new baby, so they can grow and thrive, even while in the hospital.

Nancy Sánchez Zanón, head of the Maternity Neonatology Department shares that “1,500 of the 5,200 babies born in their hospital every year require a stay period in the NICU, and about 15% of these need to be hugged for one reason or another.” That is a decent amount of babies that need extra love and attention.

With so many benefits to the babies, it is nice to know so many want to step up and volunteer to help. It’s a way of giving back to the community and showing love to those who need it.

Who Are The Volunteers That Hold the Newborns in the Hospital?

The Provincial Maternity Hospital of Córdoba welcomes 50 volunteers to spend time hugging preemies or those whose mothers are absent. The volunteers are mostly women with one man, with 200 on the waiting list. So many want to get into the program to hold and love on the babies.

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Irma Castro, one of the volunteers, as well as a retired public teacher, explained, "I want [the babies] to be certain that, since they were born, they've been loved and accepted. It's amazing how [valiant] they are, they have such a desire to live.”

How the Program Began

This program came about from a program in Canada for babies whose mothers were addicted to heroin. As of 2023, over a dozen hospitals in the US have a similar program, including NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. You can also find them in many other countries around the world.

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Many of the volunteers are mothers themselves. However, they will admit that it’s a different type of hugging than they did with their own babies.

The program is a part of the hospital’s overall focus on human-centered neonatal care. A program that is truly making a difference in the lives of so many.

And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.” – Matthew 25:40

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h/t: Good News Network

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/El País English Edition