It’s a well-documented fact that volunteering your time to help others is a great way to aid your addiction recovery success. This concept is reaching new heights, with infant cuddling programs now available throughout the nation. This volunteer opportunity allows people to visit Neonatal Infant Care Units and console infants suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) by offering some tender loving care. Hospitals around the country are always looking for volunteers.
“These babies going through withdrawal need to be held for extended periods. They need human touch. They need soothing. They need talking,” said Jane Cavanaugh, a Pennsylvania nurse who started the volunteer program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, a baby is born with an opioid addiction every 25 minutes. Sadly, these newborns may have difficulties with many NAS-related symptoms, including:
· High-Pitched Crying
· Muscle Stiffness
· Difficulty Feeding
Though medication is prescribed to infants suffering from NAS, human touch has been shown to be extremely effective. With nurses and doctors taking care of other essential treatments, many don’t have time to give these infants the love they need. At one facility in Winchester, VA, officials report that the cuddle program has reduced the average stay of an infant from 40 days down to 21. Though these programs began in the late 1980s in response to the crack cocaine epidemic, more and more volunteer programs have since been created throughout the U.S. due to the ongoing opioid epidemic.