The Doctors share the startling statistic that every 15 minutes a baby is born addicted to opiates in America. Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio has found a unique way to combat the issue with their Infant Cuddler Program. There, about 90 babies per year are born withdrawing from opioids.
Clinical nurse at Miami Valley Hospital, Ellen Jordan, and Infant Cuddler Program volunteer, Floyd Chriswell, discuss the program more with The Doctors. Ellen says human touch is absolutely essential to help ease the pain for these babies known as NAS patients. NAS stands for neonatal abstinence syndrome and the symptoms of this include high-pitch crying, tremors, sometimes seizures, fever, diarrhea, vomiting and difficulty sleeping and feeding. OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry adds that symptoms can last for a week or six months, it all depends on the substances the mother was using during pregnancy.
“We find when a baby is held or cuddled, it can prevent crying and help them relax,” shares Ellen. She says it aids in preventing a cycle of crying, inability to sleep, and poor feeding. Floyd shares that he loves babies and volunteers every Monday. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork highlights what Ellen said about the power of human touch and points out that this program benefits both the babies and the volunteers.
Dr. Nita warns women that may be taking opioids while pregnant, do not try and stop on your own. Stopping cold turkey could actually be dangerous for the baby. If in this situation, seek help from your doctor.
If interested, you can search online for a volunteer cuddle program at a hospital near you.