WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- For teeny, tiny bundles of joy to grow stronger and healthier, a calm, loving touch is just about as essential as medical care. Hugs, holding and cuddling are important for all babies, but especially for babies born early.
"With human touch, it helps the babies remember to breathe and increase their heart rate and maintain a steady state," said Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Patty Vandergrift. "Touch actually releases good chemicals in the body and helps the baby be happier and calmer and better adapt to their surroundings."
Here in the Piedmont, volunteers are helping nurture the babies in hospital neonatal units.
Longtime volunteers Jeff and Donna Sparks say what they get out of volunteering is far more than what they put into it.
"It's just so rewarding to see those tiny babies grow stronger and go home with their families, we love it," said Donna Sparks.
Volunteers go through a background check and a course on how to work with the newborns.
After FOX8's story, hospitals were swamped with calls and have enough volunteers for now. They have asked us to take down the phone numbers.