Envied volunteers: Baby cuddlers

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Updated: 6/21/2012 11:22 am
Springfield (KMTR) - We think we've found what may be one of the most coveted volunteer jobs in the Springfield area. So coveted, in fact, there's been a waiting list for years just to get a shot at it.

We caught up with Cathy Joseph in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. She is a volunteer baby cuddler. When we spoke with her, she was holding, cuddling and soothing Makenna, a tiny six-day old girl.

Cathy is one of 24 people who volunteer their time to hold and rock babies in the NICU. As a mom of two grown children, this gives Cathy her "baby fix" and helps out the nurses when mom or dad can't be here.

“It's calming for them,” says Cathy of the babies she cuddles, “and you can see that they have such a rough start here that it’s really neat to see them relaxing and happier than they would be if they were just in there by themselves.”

The physical touch Cathy Joseph and her fellow volunteers provide is very beneficial to premature and medically-fragile babies cared for in the NICU.

The volunteers love cuddling the babies so much, they often hold onto their positions at the hospital for years. Cathy’s been a cuddler for 25 years so far.
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