EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Lifestyle

March 16, 2014

Cuddlers soothe babies too sick, tiny to go home

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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 aren’t comforting their own babies. But 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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