INDIANAPOLIS — The Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Ascension St. Vincent is set to expand their NICU volunteer program, this means they will need more baby cuddlers!

Cuddlers help with a variety of tasks in the NICU, but are especially tasked to help calm and soothe babies as they grow and heal.

“They like attention, some of the babies,” said Bill Behan, a volunteer baby cuddler since 2019. “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,” he said. “And 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.”

The application to volunteer can be found here.