Volunteers cuddle sick babies in the hospital

Boca Raton - Adrian Lastra was born a week ago, but is still at West Boca Medical Center. His mother Sally told us, "Adrian was admitted into the NICU because he had two blood vessels around his umbilical cord, his  heart rate was really high and his breathing was high."

His mother Sally can only visit him for three hours a day-- but he's not alone during the other hours.

Tender loving care is helping him recover, thanks to volunteers like Jackie Abreo, known as baby cuddlers.

Nursing Director Abby Jagarnauth said,  "There is a lot of scientific evidence that touch is good for babies and it decreases their length of stay also when Jackie holds a baby the heart rate goes down, the baby is crying and that usually stops."

There are five baby cuddlers who volunteer every week, for a minimum of four hours. Jackie cuddles the babies up to 15 hours every week.

"The real tiny ones that are very sick I don't get to hold but there are others that I can hold sometimes the little ones sometimes the big ones. I might just give them a pacifier or pat them a little bit and sometimes the nurses will say it's ok to cuddle them," Jackie said.

Parents like Sally say the baby cuddlers are helping her son get better. He could be going home for the first time this weekend. 

"It's amazing, it's super awesome," said Sally.

For information on how to become a baby cuddler volunteer, call West Boca Medical Center at 561-488-8000


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