Volunteer Cuddlers Comfort Tiny Patients

September 25, 2019
Older man holding a newborn as health care worker looks on

When volunteer Bill Hardenberg arrives at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) each Tuesday afternoon, his mission is clear: to cuddle tiny patients until they settle down and fall asleep. “It’s extremely peaceful for both the baby and the cuddler,” says Hardenberg, who has been volunteering in the​ Summerlin Hospital NICU for three years. “The greatest enjoyment we receive is watching a baby who is uncomfortable relax in our arms.”

Hardenberg’s experience, first to his 12 cousins who lived next door while he was growing up, and then as a father of two and grandfather of three, shows as he gently rocks and soothes fussy babies into a contented, peaceful sleep.

“We love our cuddlers,” said Linda​ LaPointe, NICU manager. “They are an extension of our NICU team, and an extra pair of loving arms who help our little ones and provide extra attention when their parents aren’t able to be there.”