It's no surprise that newborns need lots of love, but what happens when mom or dad isn't around to shower them with cuddles? At one children's hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, that's where grandmas step in to help.
But these grandmas aren't related to the babies — they're a team of about 40 older women who volunteer to comfort preemie or needy infants when parents can't be at the hospital. They have no medical background, but they can certainly count on experience to be cuddling experts.
Whenever a baby is crying or just needs to be put to sleep, the volunteers show them affection by rocking and holding them. Research shows that these types of interactions are important because they have health benefits and promote wellness from an early age. Many parents also appreciate the fact that it's not just doctors and nurses looking out for their infant but kind women who care for them in a meaningful way.
But being a cuddler isn't always easy. Volunteers work shifts on a weekly or biweekly basis and must commit for at least a year. That doesn't deter them, though. There's always a waiting list of willing and able helpers, and it can take more than a year to land the job. Now that's something to smile about.