Lori McKinney- Official Baby Cuddler

After being on a quickly passed two year wait list, I am now an official Cuddler at UCSD Hillcrest Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I even have a uniform and parking permit!

My job each Thursday night is to hold and visit with the babies who may need a little more attention than the nurses or staff on duty has time for.  It is such an incredible feeling to be needed.  My charges (babies I cuddle and comfort) are usually fairly small (less than 5 pounds).  They are fully wired to monitors/feeding machines.  These little ones are in critical condition. We visit for anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on what is needed.  I have no schedule other than to be there, to assist, to love, and to cuddle.  It is such a difference from my day job, where I hurry from one task to the other, never really feeling accomplished or caught up.  The babies are comforted, but I think I am more so.  Cuddling these babies makes my heart happy and warms my soul. Cuddling is a good reminder each week to sing a lullaby, rock oneself to sleep, and quiet the mind. Best wishes to all my babies; you will remain in my prayers and thoughts every day. I can’t wait to see you again this Thursday!