Baby Cuddling: 81-Year-Old Man Volunteers To Care For Seriously Ill Babies

Date September 19, 2018

Child's health is everything for the parents. Unfortunately, many children are hospitalized daily for various reasons. Some babies are born so small and weak that they require constant professional supervision.

Many clinics initiate volunteer programs, in which after passing a background check and training, everyone can care for newborns and sick babies. Depending on the condition of the baby, they would either help with baby care or simply share their warmth through cuddling. This kind of work has already got its title in everyday language - “cuddling care”. Tactile contact gives babies a sense of security and helps them to calm down. Studies have established that gentle caressing or simply placing a hand on premature babies reduces levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone), and a touch may benefit their heart rate and sleep, and perhaps even speed up their discharge from the hospital.

The volunteers vary in age and social status. Many of them are elderly people, and we will tell you about some of them.

1. Louis Mapp

For one and a half years, 81-year-old Louis Mapp from Alabama has been coming to the neighboring town at least once a week to help the nurses take care of babies, and he is ready to do it at any time when his presence may be needed. The man has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren - he knows how to get along with kids. During his visits, Louis usually settles in an armchair with a baby, lulls it to sleep, and ponders about the child’s future dreaming of a good life for the little one.

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Mapp’s help has not been limited to cuddling. Together with his wife, the man donated over $1 million to the hospital, in which he works. The funds will be used to buy equipment and other necessary things.

2. David Deutchman

Twice a week for the last 12 years, David Deutchman, who has raised 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren of his own, has been a volunteer in the intensive care unit of one of children’s hospitals in Atlanta. 15 years ago, after retiring, he used to give lectures on business marketing for a few years and focused on volunteering. He is not only dedicated to children but to their mothers as well - David provides them with an opportunity to speak out, cheers them up, and shares his own experience of being a husband, father, and grandfather. Parents of the little patients and hospital staff simply call him “grandpa”.

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undefined FOX 5 Atlanta / YouTube

undefined FOX 5 Atlanta / YouTube

3. Jeanette Devivo

It’s been long since the former teacher retired, but only after that, she found her best “job” in the world. This woman is a volunteer in one of New York’s clinics. Her duties include calming, rocking, and cuddling with young patients. In these moments, she focuses exclusively on the tiny person in her arms and dreams for each of them to go home to their families soon. Such simple actions (rocking and cuddling) help normalize a baby’s heart rate and breathing, maintain the body temperature, and have a soothing effect.

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These and many other people give babies what they lack during their stay in the hospital - attention, care, and compassion. Do you think this program has a future? Would you trust a volunteer, especially an elderly one, with your baby?

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