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Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital needs volunteer baby cuddlers

Volunteer baby cuddler and grandfather Bill Behan holds an infant in the neonatal intensive care unit at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital. PMCH says it's adding two new shifts of volunteers and currently accepting applications online. (Provided Photo/Peyton Manning Children's Hospital)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent is looking for some special volunteers to cuddle some very special patients.

The hospital is expanding its neonatal intensive care unit and needs more “baby cuddlers.”

Cuddlers help with a number of tasks in the NICU, but their most special role is holding ill and premature babies as they’re growing and healing.

The hospital is adding two new shifts of cuddlers and is accepting applications online.

“They like attention, some of the babies,” Bill Behan, a volunteer baby cuddler since 2019, said in a release. “They get hungry and cranky, or they’re tired and can’t sleep. They’re in pain from a procedure they’ve had or some are having a procedure so they can’t get fed. It’s all those things combined, I think, but ultimately, it’s just to make the babies more comfortable and a little more restful.”

Behan began volunteering after he became a grandfather and says he thinks of the babies as his own adopted grandchildren.

“It just feels great. It’s the best feeling in the world to come in and spend time with the little ones. In my way of thinking, they’re the purest form of spirit, of that spirit that we’re all born with and as we go through life junk accumulates to it, but they’re the purest form of that spirit that we’re born with.”

Behan says he forms a connection with the babies he cuddles.

“Sometimes they just, they just look at you. And they look, these little 2-3 day old people, they just look you directly in the eyes and connect with you while you’re holding them. It’s that kind of thing that’s just so special.”

Interested in cuddling babies at PMCH, just like Bill Behan? Click here to apply!

The Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital NICU will move into the new Women and Children’s Tower next year. The expanded NICO will have 109 private rooms and will also be physically attached to the children’s hospital and Ascension St. Vincent, allowing all family members to receive treatment under one roof.