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Program provides hugs for babies at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital NICU

The “No Baby Unhugged” program ensures babies are hugged and touched if circumstances prevent a parent from being at their side.
The “No Baby Unhugged” program ensures babies are hugged and touched if circumstances prevent a parent from being at their side. Boonchai Wedmakawand/Getty Images

A new volunteer program at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) in Saskatoon will ensure all babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) receive much needed human interaction.

The “No Baby Unhugged” program ensures babies will be hugged and touched should circumstances prevent a parent from being at their side.

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“This program will provide amazing support to our babies, families, and staff,” Krystal Baier, NICU and NICU transport manager at JPCH, said in a statement.

“We look forward to continuing to grow the program and offer this invaluable service.”

The program is made possible with a $25,000 grant from Huggies.

“Human touch and hugging are some of the most important stimuli that premature babies can get in the NICU in order for their brains to mature,” Nadia Malowany, a brand team leader at Huggies Canada, said in a release.

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“The launch of this initiative looks to provide parents, nurses, and healthcare professionals with the materials and support required to spread the messaging of the power of hugs.”

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Huggies said skin-to-skin hugging is vital to a baby’s well-being, is an “essential component to help them reach their optimal potential,” and can affect healthy development.

“We are very excited to integrate our program to another hospital partner who can provide the power of hugs and provide special developmental care to ensure babies get the hugs they need to thrive,” Malowany said.

JPCH is the first hospital in Saskatchewan to receive the grant since its inception in 2015, and only the seventh in Canada.

Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital tour
Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital tour