Baptist Memorial NICU receives grant so no baby goes ‘unhugged’

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Babies in the Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women will soon get extra love and attention.

The newborns are there after being born prematurely or with complications, such as heart defects or underdeveloped lungs.

They can often have a lengthy stay.

Now the company Huggies is helping make their stay better through a new initiative.

“Moms say all the time it was the hardest day they ever had when they had to be discharged from the hospital and leave their baby," said Dr. Denise Nickleson, neonatal development care specialist.

In many instances, parents can’t be by their baby’s side there as they have to go to work or support other children at home.

“The separation is just so hard on them, the constant worry about how their baby’s doing, I think a lot of times the constant guilt they can’t be with them 24/7.”

There’s been a handful of volunteers who spend time with the babies while the parents are away.

But now, with a new grant from Huggies “No Baby Unhugged Initiative," they’ll be able to create a whole new program.

“We were ecstatic."

The $10,000 grant will pay for training and supplies to bring volunteers in to give these newborns the physical contact they need.

Although the advancements in modern medicine and technology is beneficial, studies show nothing’s as impactful as the human touch.

“There’s just this window when they’re here with us in the NICU that their brains are growing faster than any other time and every interaction, every touch, forever changes that brain.”

“Baby huggers” will soon be rocking, cuddling, singing and of course hugging, the little ones for sometimes hours at a time.

They’re not sure when they’ll get the program up and running, but we’ll be sure to let you know when they do and are accepting volunteers.