Volunteers Cuddle Sickly Babies to Heal

April 17, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. premature /ˌprihttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngməˈtʃʊər/ (adj.) – being born earlier than the due date
Example: Premature babies are given special attention in the hospital.

2. bathe /beɪð/ (v.) – to wash someone
Example: Mothers bathe their babies with warm water.

3. cuddle /ˈkʌdhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngl/ (v.) – to hold, hug, or embrace a person
Example: My sweet sister loves to cuddle me.

4. once /wʌns/ (conj.) – as soon as; right after
ExampleOnce I hug the baby, she stops crying.

5. volunteer /ˌvɒlhttp://static.sfdict.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngənˈtɪər/ (n) – a person who provides service without payment
Example: A lot of volunteers came after the earthquake happened.


Read the text below.
In a children’s hospital in Chicago, volunteers are helping sickly infants become healthy by cuddling them whenever parents or nurses cannot attend to the baby’s needs.

These baby cuddlers from Comers Children’s Hospital in the University of Chicago go to the hospital to hold and communicate with premature babies. They do not feed the babies, bathe them, nor change their diapers. All they do is to touch, cuddle, sing, and rock the babies to sleep. These simple yet powerful gestures make a big difference to the well-being of the baby.

Studies show that human touch helps lower stress hormones in our body. It is evident in the case of sick babies who have suffered pain and stress from their environment. Once these sick babies are held, their heartbeat drops, their eyebrow relaxes, and they become calm. More importantly, babies could be sent home earlier than expected.

No doubt, the parents of these babies are grateful to the important role that baby cuddlers play. Parents simply cannot be in the hospital 24 hours a day because of work and other responsibilities. Thus, baby cuddling program puts parents at ease knowing that there is someone out there taking good care of their baby.

To become a baby cuddler, one must undergo background checks and training. The training includes how to hold and dress a baby, how to read books, and sing songs. Personal hygiene is also strictly observed.

Baby cuddling not only benefits the baby but the baby cuddler as well. Frank Dertz, 74, says that he gets more out of the program than the babies. Another cuddler who already has two grown up kids says that cuddling prepares her for future grandchildren.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How would you feel if your baby was cuddled by other people?
·         Would you ever consider becoming a baby cuddler? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think a mother should quit working after she gives birth? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages if a mother quits work after giving birth?


April 17, 2014