Volunteers cuddle newborns at Abington Hospital

- There's nothing like holding a newborn baby. Well, one local hospital has a program that's helping parents and offering a lot cuddling with those bundles of joy.

FOX 29 Photojournalist Bill Rohrer explains.

After a quick swaddle Abington Hospital volunteer Evelyn Mandel is about to work her magic. Cuddling is her specialty. Fussiness and discomfort from a newborn baby are no match against Evelyn’s gentle touch.

"It is so calming to give this kind of care to a baby. It brings down their stress level as well as mine," she told FOX 29.

She’s a retired kindergarten teacher who has been around children most of her career. But she's always had a special place in her heart for babies. 

She is just one of Abington Hospital’s volunteer ‘cuddlers', which is a program that lends a helping hand to parents unable to be at the hospital.

"It is comforting for that mom to know that she can’t be here that her baby won't lay in a crib and scream for 5 hours.  A volunteer (or a nurse) is going to be in there soothing the baby and picking the baby up," Nurse manager for the Special Care Nursery Michelle Walker said. 

Most newborns Evelyn cuddles start their life inside Abington’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where something as simple as human touch can help the baby’s development.

"All babies benefit from love and care. It stabilizes them it provides them with comfort," Williams said. "It actually reduces the length of stay here at Abington."

Every hour Evelyn spends volunteering helps parents bring their little one home a little sooner.

"It feels incredibly rewarding to be able to give babies that are small the cuddling that they need," Mandel said.


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