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Volunteering to Help Premature Babies

By: Leigh Sexton - Updated: 18 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Volunteering Craft Premature Babies

The life of a premature baby is fragile and stressed, and the family of such a baby are likely to also be extremely stressed and anxious. Physically, mentally and emotionally, the tiny babies and those who love them need all the help they can get. Fortunately there are a whole host of ways that you can volunteer to help.

Craft Volunteering

A large number of UK charities and organisations offer the opportunity to sew, knit or crochet clothing and other items needed to care for premie babies. Items needed range from premature clothes and blankets through to tiny burial outfits to give those little ones who don’t survive a suitable and loving garment in which to be seen for the last time by their grieving relatives.

The items are made for the charity and then collected to be laundered so that they are free of all infection and irritation before being taken to special care baby units.

This opportunity requires you to have the necessary craft skills, to be able to work to a pattern and to either take your items to a depot or post them to an agreed address for onward transmission.

Courier Volunteering

Several motorcycle groups and charities have volunteer roles, transporting urgently needed donor breast milk, and blood, to neonatal units where the milk is given to premature babies to boost their immune systems and the blood provides transfusions for mothers who have complications resulting from their labour.

In rural areas in particular, the regular provision of donated breast milk can make a huge difference to a baby’s survival by reducing the risk of infection. It gives the tiny babies optimum nutrition as well as reducing their vulnerability to infections and viruses. A mother who isn’t producing milk may be very stressed about her baby’s health and that can, in turn, make her ill, so ensuring that premies get good milk helps not just the infant but his or her immediate family to feel that the best possible care is being taken of the little one.

Some mothers who lose their own babies go on producing milk by breast pump and donating it to others as part of the process of coming to terms with their grief, so the provision of courier services may be helping parents who have lost a baby just as much as parents who are struggling with the complex and demanding medical routines of a neo-natal unit.

This opportunity to volunteer requires a car or, more often, a motorcycle, a full clean licence, a good knowledge of your local area and the willingness to get up and go at any hour of the day or night. Training and support and special clothing, and packaging for the medical supplies, are provided by several charities to do this work.

Support Group Volunteering

Over 80,000 babies are born too soon, too small or ill in the UK every year. Local family support groups help parents cope with the stress of having a baby in a neo-natal unit or recently returned home from one. They also support parents who have lost a premature baby and they work with wider family such as other children and grandparents who often struggle to cope with their feelings and don’t know how to act for the best around a premature baby.

This opportunity requires you to pass a Criminal Records Bureau check, to be or have been a parent (not necessarily of a premature baby) and to be willing to work with your local community. Training and support are provided by several charities to do this work.

Premature Baby Cuddle Scheme

Studies showing the benefits of human physical contact on newborn babies has prompted some neo natal units to recruit volunteer "baby cuddlers". While parents are generally around to provide this vital 'service' - there are times when some respite is needed. Occasionally too, a parent will be unable to cuddle a newborn because they are unwell themselves, this is where volunteer cuddlers come in. Their role is simply to hold an unhappy baby, providing a human touch and perhaps singing or talking gently to reassure them.

Where Can I Find a Cuddle Programme?

We don't have a list of cuddle programmes in the UK, so please contact your nearest premature baby unit, or NHS trust to find out more.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I live in Stirling Scotland and I'm really interested in being a volunteer baby cuddles. Is there any scheme in the local area?
Lucy241178 - 18-May-17 @ 9:50 PM
Fletch- Your Question:
Hi I'm just wondering if there are Andy places in Edinburgh or Musselburgh please

Our Response:
Where Can I Find a Cuddle Programme? We don't have a list of cuddle programmes in the UK, so please contact your nearest premature baby unit, or NHS trust to find out more.
VoluntaryWorker - 11-May-17 @ 10:30 AM
Are they any places near heanor/ derby. I couldn't think of a more rewarding job.
loz - 9-May-17 @ 7:37 PM
Hi I'm just wondering if there are Andy places in Edinburgh or Musselburgh please
Fletch - 8-May-17 @ 6:39 PM
Hi Is there anywhere in or around the Burnley, Lancashire area that take on volunteers for the premature babies? Thanks
Ailsa - 8-May-17 @ 6:35 AM
Is there anywhere in Sheffield where y can cuddle a baby the scheme for drug addicts babies
Leo - 7-May-17 @ 12:16 PM
Hi all I live in Eastbourne and would love to do cuddle care, I've got plenty of cuddles to give! Any information would be appreciated. Thank you
Hugaroo - 6-May-17 @ 6:28 PM
I would love to do this . Finished university until October , will love to be doing this in the mean . Please !!! Currently studying Early Chilhood Education and Care
Charr - 6-May-17 @ 5:20 AM
I am a mum of 4 and currently on my 9th week on my 5th. My heart broke reading about these vulnerable babies. I would love to cuddle these beautiful little angles in need of love. Please let me know how I can help in my area, Salford, Manchester.
Lizzie - 4-May-17 @ 10:48 PM
Sam- Your Question:
I am very interested in this post how do I go about it. Many thanks

Our Response:
Check your local NHS trust neo natal units to see what volunteering opportunities are available.
VoluntaryWorker - 3-May-17 @ 12:30 PM
I would love to volunteer for cuddling within the west midlands area,UK:-)
Mummy's arms - 3-May-17 @ 11:53 AM
I am extremely Interested in the cuddle care programme and was wondering if there is any in the north London area or anywhere in London to be honest.
Homa - 3-May-17 @ 9:51 AM
I would love to do the cuddle programme please I live in Northamptonshire is there any there please
Shelly - 3-May-17 @ 8:28 AM
I am very interested in this post how do I go about it. Many thanks
Sam - 2-May-17 @ 8:50 PM
Lou - Your Question:
Hi l'm interested in the cuddlecare programme, is there one in the north west of England

Our Response:
We don't have information about any specifically. You should try the various NHS trusts and also any neo natal charities etc
VoluntaryWorker - 2-May-17 @ 11:55 AM
I would b very interested to learn more and know if this programme runs near to where I live.Thanks
Bell - 1-May-17 @ 10:22 PM
Hi l'm interested in the cuddlecare programme, is there one in the north west of England
Lou - 1-May-17 @ 10:25 AM
Is there a programme in London?
Ni - 30-Apr-17 @ 9:39 PM
Hi I'm a mother to three one whom was born at 28 weeks back in 2012 and volunteered for bliss for 18 months , I would love to know if there is a cuddle care program in my area that I can help at. Many thanks
TM - 30-Apr-17 @ 10:01 AM
I am very interested in any cuddle care program in my area
Moira - 30-Apr-17 @ 9:57 AM
I am very interested in any cuddle care programmes. I currently live in Suffolk on border of Cambs. Many thanks.
Bev - 29-Apr-17 @ 9:44 PM
Hi, I would love to take part in a cuddle programme. A mother of two, I'm wondering if there is anything near Teddington or in London? Many thanks x
Jessica - 29-Apr-17 @ 7:48 PM
Hello, I am really interested in this volunteer programme. I have an NVQ3 in children's care,learning and development and have worked with children for 8 years. Please send any info on how I can help.
Kez - 29-Apr-17 @ 6:00 PM
Hello, this sounds amazing and would love more information on how I can volunteer. I have worked with children for 8 years and have an NVQ3 in children's care, learning and development. I have an up to date DBS. Please send info!
Kez - 29-Apr-17 @ 5:58 PM
LisHux - Your Question:
Hi everyone,The cuddle programme in American hospitals for drug addicted babies is a wonderful idea, really would be beneficial to lots of babies around the country! Saw this on social media yesterday and it's really got me thinking about it, so much so I want to be part of it! Would be interested setting up or if there is one already running in Gloucestershire, Hereford, Worcestershire and South Wales, please could someone let me know? Many ThanksLisa

Our Response:
The easiest thing to do would be to contact local organisations involved with the premature babies. Here are some to try:
Gloucester NHS hospitals trust
Scoo-b-doo (charity supporting neo natal care at Gloucestershire Royal)
Cardiff and Vale neo natal intensive care unit
Noah's Ark Charity
VoluntaryWorker - 28-Apr-17 @ 11:33 AM
I am 70yrs old and Nan to 4 great grandchildren and would love to volunteer to be able to cuddle baby's suffering drug problems...I live in Wyton on the Hill,Huntingdon, Cambs...Hinchingbrook hospital is 10 mins away....I could easily do night shifts too...I hope I am able to help these dear little baby's... Elaine Hayns.
Nannie - 27-Apr-17 @ 8:40 PM
Interested in the cuddle programme, is there one in the North West of England?
Chelle - 27-Apr-17 @ 7:37 PM
Hi everyone, The cuddle programme in American hospitals for drug addicted babies is a wonderful idea, really would be beneficial to lots of babies around the country! Saw this on social media yesterday and it's really got me thinking about it, so much so I want to be part of it! Would be interested setting up or if there is one already running in Gloucestershire, Hereford, Worcestershire and South Wales, please could someone let me know? Many Thanks Lisa
LisHux - 27-Apr-17 @ 8:42 AM
innorth londo and a mother to 3 children. I want to youa cuddle care program in north london. please advise x
cj london - 26-Apr-17 @ 4:19 PM
I am a doula in Bristol and would love to volunteer with a cuddle program. Is there anything in Bristol or how do I go about setting something up here?
Sarah - 25-Apr-17 @ 9:21 AM
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