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Labor of love: Volunteer infant cuddlers needed at Skagit Valley Hospital

Newborn baby face focused looking up at the person holding them.

The Family Birth Center Special Care Nursery at Skagit Valley Hospital is seeking volunteers to join their care team to fill a very important role: cuddler.

Volunteer cuddlers are needed to support the Cuddler Program, a program dedicated to supporting the families of infants in the Special Care Nursery by providing comfort to their hospitalized infants. The role of volunteer cuddlers is to assist with the needs of the infants by providing a human touch and warmth when parents are unable to be at the bedside. Volunteers may be needed to support the Family Birth Center to develop a relationship and familiarity with the department.

Through extensive training, volunteer cuddlers learn to handle, rock and cuddle stable infants as an extension of the parents’ role as they grow and gain strength following premature birth or other illnesses. Touch is one of the most powerful forms of human communication, and this supportive care from volunteer cuddlers can serve as the first line of treatment.

Numerous studies have shown that peaceful, loving interactions of cuddling lead to healthy weight gain and earlier discharge home. It also gives infants a sense of security, resulting in reduced pain, regulated temperature and heart rate, better sleep and less crying.

Peaceful, loving interactions are especially important for infants in the Special Care Nursery who may endure a lot of negative stimuli such as light, noise, tubes and procedures. Cuddling is vital for infants experiencing the symptoms of drug withdrawal. Babies need love and touch to thrive.

To be a volunteer infant cuddler, interested persons must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Complete the online application process including references and online orientation
  • Attend an in-person interview, placement and on-boarding session
  • Be willing to sign a confidentiality statement
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Be able to interact with families and staff in a professional manner
  • Have experience with the care and comfort of infants and children
  • Complete an in-person self-guided tour and an employee health screening
  • Complete yearly training updates

To begin the application process, visit SkagitRegionalHealth.org/Volunteer. Click the “Apply” button and fill out the online application. When filling out “Desired volunteer position,” select “Other” and type: Cuddler. For questions regarding joining our team as a volunteer cuddler, please email [email protected] or call 360-814-2142.

By volunteering as a cuddler, you are investing in our future generation.