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Hospital volunteer Gertie Rogers, 84, places a newborn back into a bed in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Wednesday. Research shows that cuddling helps calm babies.

Stories this photo appears in:

Cuddlers soothe babies too sick, tiny to go home

Parents typically must consent for their babies to be part of cuddling programs, and cuddlers must undergo background checks and training before starting.

CHICAGO — A volunteer slips her arms into a gauzy yellow hospital gown and approaches a medical crib holding a tiny newborn hooked up to noisy machines. “OK,” she says, with a smile. “Baby time.”

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