This post is sponsored by Huggies as a member of the #HuggiesCouncil. All thoughts are my own.
The day my daughter was born was not only one of the happiest days of my life, but one of the scariest. After almost three days of labor, I had to have a cesarean when my doctor noticed that there were signs of meconium in my water. Due to the prolonged labor, we were fearful that Sofia may have ingested some of the meconium, which can be dangerous to an infant so I said- let’s do it! And, just over an hour later, I lay on an operating table and that’s when I heard her cry for the first time.
When I was in the recovery room, a nurse came in to tell me that Sofia wasn’t breathing at the level they were comfortable with, so she would have to stay in the NICU until her breathing was 100%.
I was nervous, scared, and all I wanted to do was hug my baby. But I couldn’t because I was recovering and she needed to be under the NICU care, so I had to count on the NICU nurses and doctors to give her the hugs, care and attention she needed to thrive. Five days later, we were both home…healthy, happy, and I haven’t stopped hugging her since.
As a part of the Huggies Parents Council, I was invited to attend an event in Chicago recently to learn more about the brand’s No Baby Unhugged program and visit the NICU in Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Remembering those first few days of my daughter’s life, I was eager to hear, see and learn how Huggies was “giving hugs” to the littlest babies that need them the most.
No Baby Unhugged Vision
No Baby Unhugged is Huggies vision to ensure all babies get the hugs they need by helping parents understand and embrace the Power of Hugs through the brand’s Diapers and Wipes, new Hugging Programs in Hospitals and continued product Donations across the country.
Those first few days in the NICU were eye opening for me. Even though my daughter was full term, there were so many precautions that needed to be taken, and I am forever grateful to my daughter’s wonderful nurses. They answered my many questions while also sending me to my room to rest, making sure I was taking care of myself, and sent my husband to sleep in spare beds, and forced him to take breaks to eat. As new parents, you always want to be there for your baby, especially when they are in the NICU. It’s great to know that Huggies will help give NICU babies the hugs they need, even when moms and dads can’t be there to give them, by funding hugging programs in U.S. hospitals and partnerships with healthcare professionals.
No Baby Unhugged At Work At Lurie Children’s Hospital: Volunteer Hugging Program
Lurie Children’s Hospital is one of the top nationally ranked children’s hospitals in the country and also the first recipient of Huggies No Baby Unhugged grant. At the Huggies Parents Council we were able to tour Lurie Children’s hospital and as part of the tour, we got a chance to chat with one of their “hugging volunteers.” Most parents are able to bring baby home soon after he or she is born, but for those parents whose baby needs to stay in the NICU for an extended period of time, they are not always able to be there every minute due to work or other commitments, so hospitals regularly develop volunteer hugging or cuddling programs.
Becoming a “hugger” isn’t simple. You have to be dedicated and have experience volunteering in other capacities at the hospital. When the hospital thinks you are suited for a “hugging” position, they invite you to apply. The grant money will be used for items like volunteer training and recruitment, hugging chairs, educational materials and more. The hugger we spoke with talked about how the volunteers received special training to work with each baby’s individual needs and how much the experience enriched her life as well.
Going to hospitals is hardly ever a pleasant experience, however at Lurie, you can see that great care was given to provide the families with as much comfort as possible in their times of need. We got a pretty in-depth look at the NICU floor by one of the head nurses, and saw just how dedicated they are to the tiniest patients and their families.
Pre-Term Baby NICU Needs
At the Huggies Parents Council we also learned that Huggies created specially-designed diapers and wipes in partnership with nurses to help the 380,000 pre-term infants born in the U.S. each year. These diapers, as with all Huggies diapers, are inspired by parent’s hugs.
Parents have been instinctively hugging their babies since the beginning of time, but research shows that this natural act can do more than calm a cry or soothe some stress. Hugs can help keep a baby’s heart beating at a normal and constant rate, improve sleep, support healthy weight gain and lead to an improved parent-baby relationship, according to a recent Huggies study titled The Power of Human Touch for Babies.
Diaper Need Awareness and How You Can Help
Huggies has been giving hugs in the form of more than 200 million diapers and wipes over the past six years to help babies in need. Huggies helped establish the National Diaper Bank Network in 2011 which it continues to support, helping it grow from 20 banks to 320.
If you want to help, you can:
- Volunteer at a local bank. (Find a list of local diaper banks at nationaldiaperbanknetwork.org/members).
- Host a diaper drive with your friends or playgroup.
- Donate diapers to your local diaper bank.
- Donate your Huggies Rewards points to babies in need. Download the new Huggies Rewards app and find more information at Huggies.com.
- For every person who signs up to become a Huggies Member, Huggies will donate $5 to support volunteer hugging program grants for hospitals. If you’re interested, go to Huggies.com and click on “Sign in or join Huggies” to get started.
My first year of motherhood, I went through a lot. From the NICU, to job loss, to a cross country move, I experienced first-hand how much a baby, and their family, need “hugs” all around. I loved experiencing what Huggies is as a brand and even prouder to be a Huggies Parents Council member than I ever was before.
Huggies® believes deeply in the Power of Hugs. The simple, loving act is proven to support babies’ emotional and physiological well-being. Huggies® diapers and wipes are inspired by a parent’s hug, – to nurture baby with care, cradle baby in comfort and surround baby in protection. Learn more at Huggies.com, #HuggiesCouncil