Mommy Monday: Volunteer cuddliers

Judy Capps is rocking babies during retirement (Photo: Danner Evans).

Having a baby that has to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit after mom and dad go home can be very difficult for parents.

But Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg has a unique volunteer opportunity to help care of those tiny babies when they have to stay behind.

Janet Capps is spending her retirement rocking.

"I taught school for 30 years and I decided when I finished I'd love to rock babies," Capps said.

With 5 grandchildren, you could call her a professional.

"Yea, I can rock," Capps admitted.

Capps is what they call a volunteer cuddlier in the NICU at Virginia Baptist Hospital -- an extra set of hands to help calm tiny babies when mom and dad can't be there.

“Parents can't be here every single minute of the day and they just need extra special love and attention that a cuddlier can give,” Capps said.

Neonatal nurse practitioner Maureen Puckett says she can't imagine the NICU without these volunteers.

"It helps them to cope with some of the painful procedures or the different things they are trying to heal from," Puckett said.

Puckett said this is especially so with the recent surge of babies born addicted to opioids. These babies are very irritable, can be in a lot of pain and need to be soothed.

"I think it's been a vital part of where we are evolving to and it's only going to grow and get bigger. We're going to need more volunteers to help us," Puckett said.

Capps said the best part is seeing a baby she's helped go home.

"Oh it's so rewarding,” Capps said. “You ask about them to see how they're doing and it's just so rewarding

To learn more about this volunteer opportunity click here.

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