Once you have been one of those new mothers, you see them whenever you are at the hospital. They are the ones sitting sadly in a chair right near the exit, waiting for a car to pick them up. They have the tired bewildered look of a woman who has just given the birth, her stomach pooches, her hair is a mess and she is wearing maternity clothes. She is missing something though; she is leaving the hospital without her baby.
Sixteen years ago, I was that woman. I had spent two months on bedrest, one of them in the hospital because of a placental abruption. After an emergency C-section at 37 weeks, I went home without my baby. It was one of the most confusing and disheartening experiences I have ever been through.
How could they keep my baby and kick me out? Who was going to hold him through the night? Even 16 years later, I hold on to tremendous guilt that my son spent his first two nights in this world alone.
I can only imagine how much better I would have felt if there had been friendly volunteers willing to hold my baby when I wasn’t there. And that is exactly what the Huggies #nobabyunhugged campaign does. Huggies has created No Baby Unhugged programs in two Canadian NICU units where the premature and sick babies can get all the benefits of hugging, even if the parents can’t be there all the time. These programs supply rocking chairs, stations and volunteers to neo-natal units, so babies can benefit from the power of touch, even when the parents are unable to do it themselves.
The medical technology in the NICUs across the country is incredible, and the babies receive the best care possible. But researchers have found that is not all about high-tech, the power of touch is transformative for newborns. Hugging can regulate a baby’s breathing and slow down their heartbeat, it can help with pain and improve baby’s sleep. Skin to skin contact can release powerful “love hormones” such as endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin. All of this together can mean shorter hospital stays and happy homecomings for both baby and parents.
The hugging program is currently at the NICUs at Cape Breton Regional Hospital and Southlake Regional Hospital in Newmarket. Huggies is providing an additional $50-thousand dollars to expand its hugging centres to two other Canadian hospitals this year. If you are, or know an expectant or new mother, they can join the campaign by uploading a photo with your babe (or your bump) and becoming a no Baby Unhugged Mom. Click here for more information. For each photo Huggies will donate five dollars to the #nobabyunhugged campaign, and send the new mother free diapers. And you know what Huggies says: they put a hug in every diaper. Checking out the No Baby Unhugged Mom page is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face – even if your first baby was 16 years ago.
When my son was born, the nurses thought I was crazy when I gave him “kangaroo care” by stripping down and placing him on my chest for skin to skin contact. I insisted that we held him every moment we could while at the hospital. It’s amazing that the research has caught up with what we mothers already know – the power of touch and hugs is much more than skin deep. I'm glad that Huggies is advocating and educating people for such a simple and effective treatment.
My only question is: how do I become a #nobabyunhugged volunteer? I totally want to add "baby hugger" to my resume.
*this post was sponsored by Huggies. They are donating diapers to the Syrian family who I am sponsoring. So more hugs all around!