NICU Baby Cuddlers
What is an NICU Cuddler?
NICU cuddlers comfort premature infants, providing babies with holding, rocking, and loving attention when their parents cannot be there. These specially trained volunteers give human contact, which is important for preemies. Parents want to be there with their babies, but sometimes they have to return to work while their baby remains in the neonatal intensive care unit. If there is no family member to step in and give the preemie the interaction he or she requires, someone still has to be there. NICU baby cuddlers fill in, keeping the baby from missing out.
The Gift of Life’s NICU Cuddlers
Published author of three children’s books, and CEO and founder of two companies, Shonjrell Ladner, Mrs. East Tennessee America, believes that every baby is, “Born to Be Kuddled.” She is an advocate in prevention of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which occurs in newborns, as a result of a mother’s drug use during pregnancy. Shonjrell is a volunteer “Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Cuddler” at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she comforts babies in the absence of their parents. Adding to her long list of accomplishments as an entrepreneur, Shonjrell submitted her first utility patent for a device used to help soothe drug addicted babies who are suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Witnessing these babies firsthand during her own pregnancy hospitalization, she saw they needed extra love and attention, and continues to work tirelessly to improve their start to life. Through all of her celebrated successes, Shonjrell maintains that becoming a mother is her biggest accomplishment.