Fri, Mar 14, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Cuddlers soothe babies too sick, tiny to go home

HUGE BENEFITS:Early experiences such as pain and stress may hamper brain development, while positive interactions enhance brain growth, an expert said

AP, CHICAGO, Illinois

“They say that I look so in love with them when I’m there, but I cannot NOT crack an ear-to-ear smile whenever I pick that little guy or girl up.”

Her love seems obvious as she rocks a stranger’s newborn, the baby girl’s tiny hand gripping Jones’ finger.

“Ooh, I want to take you home,” Jones coos. “You’re so brave ... you’re going to be feisty, aren’t you?”

Jones used to wonder why parents or other relatives are not comforting their own babies.

Then, in August, her youngest grandchild was born deaf, with brain damage doctors say was caused by a virus her mom contracted before birth.

Evelyn Steadman spent her first three weeks at Comer, and got cuddling care while she was there.

While family members visited often: “Life happens and you can’t sit by a bedside for three weeks,” Jones said.

Erica Steadman had had a C-section, and already had her hands full with a toddler at home.

“She was being held and loved and watched over,” she said. “I felt a great sense of relief from that.”

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