No Baby Unhugged volunteer Sarah Byam hugs a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Victoria General Hospital on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Island Health launched the Huggies No Baby Unhugged program volunteers can come hug babies at the hospital during times that parents are unable to be with their child. (Dawn Gibson/Black Press)

Baby hugging program introduced at Victoria General Hospital

A B.C. first — No Baby Unhugged program ensures babies get the love they need

Story by Dawn Gibson, Video by Arnold Lim

Sometimes a hug is all a baby needs.

Victoria General Hospital introduced No Baby Unhugged, a new program in partnership with Huggies to provide support fornew parents, and ensure all babies involved in the program were getting the love and attention necessary to thrive.

“It’s not an overnight success,” said Emily Gruenwoldt, executive director of the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres. “There was a lot of communication between Victoria General and Huggies to make sure that intentions and goals and outcomes were mutual.”

Volunteers have been implemented in the neonatal intensive care unit and the paediatric intensive care unit of the hospital,and will cuddle, rock and sing to the newborns.

Cindy Dent, a mother of one of the children involved in the program, said the program is a great idea because the volunteers come and relieve her while she can’t be at the hospital.

“When I heard about the program I was ecstatic,” said Dent. “It’s hard for me to go and do daily things like run errands without with out feeling bad that my son is laying in his crib by himself.”

Dent’s 11 month old child, Gabriel, was born with type 19 Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome, a rare genetics disease that affects his breathing, swallowing, and muscles in his neck, and has been living in the hospital since birth.

“It means a lot because I know when I leave he’s in good hands and I don’t feel so bad for leaving,” said Dent.

Kyla Uzzell, a volunteer that has been working with Gabriel, said that is important for someone to be with him at all times, and she is happy to be there when the parents need a break.

“It’s an amazing environment, I really enjoy it,”said Uzzell.

Emily Gruenwoldt, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres, said the program is great opportunity to support new parents during such a vulnerable stage of their life.

“I think of myself as a new mom and I think of how thankful I would be if the support were available for me at that time when my kids were that small,” said Gruenwoldt.

The program can benefit babies by stabilizing their heart rates and body temperature, help them gain weight, improve oxygen levels, and give them a better pain tolerance.

“The best part [about the program] is definitely just seeing the happy kids and babies,” said Uzzell. “They really are amazing.”

Just Posted

Fernie misses mark for Hockeyville final four

Residents of Fernie were surprised Saturday night, when the final four communities… Continue reading

Fernie local apprehended after break and enter

An eagle-eyed resident has helped Elk Valley police nab an alleged burgler.… Continue reading

Former Riders coach reflects

Mohr looking for new opportunities after contract ends

Athletes ready for world stage

Three Fernie athletes to compete in the world’s biggest junior freeride competition.

Hydro prices to surge

Elk Valley businesses brace for 3 per cent Hydro rate increase.

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

Most Read