"The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be a place of uncertainty, and parents may often feel overwhelmed by responsibilities outside of the hospital that keep them from being with their baby 24/7," says Kristin Carnall of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. "Numerous studies show the positive benefits of holding, rocking and soothing on infant weight gain, stress reduction, vital sign stabilization, improved sleep and future language development. We are incredibly grateful to have received the No Baby Unhugged grant to support our NICU families in providing a comfortable, encouraging, intentional space for parents to deliver skin-to-skin care to their infants."
Since the No Baby Unhugged program was initiated in 2016, Huggies has awarded $250,000 in grants to 25 hospitals, allowing hospitals to invest in volunteer training and recruitment, hugger chairs and educational materials for volunteers. The seven hospitals receiving grants this September include:
- Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston – Atlanta, GA
- Children's Hospital of Wisconsin at Fox Valley – Neenah, WI
- John Muir Health, Walnut Creek Medical Center – Walnut Creek, CA
- Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center – West Palm Beach, FL
- Sanford Medical Center Fargo – Fargo, ND
- St. John's Regional Medical Center – Oxnard, CA
- University of Maryland Children's Hospital – Baltimore, MD
"We understand the power of hugs and gentle human touch for conveying safety, security and love to babies during this critical time in their development," says Sara Young, general manager of the Huggies Brand. "Volunteer hugging programs are integral to supporting nurses, comforting parents and promoting healing and growth for babies. Huggies continues to be inspired by these hospitals' dedication to the infants they treat and remains committed to providing resources to bolster hugging programs."
"As a hospital CEO and mother of a NICU baby, I understand firsthand how overwhelming a NICU can be for families," says Gabrielle Finley-Hazle of Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center. "We are honored to be one of the recipients of the No Baby Unhugged grant to support our NICU Cuddler program so that we can continue to provide healing to these babies and their families."