nursing ethics
Live by the code
Do your research on ethics and you will 'do no harm'.
nursing ethics
Helm an ethics team
Successfully lead an ethics committee with the right tools.
nursing ethics
An intense experience for RNs
Care decisions are complicated when it comes to terminally ill kids.
nursing ethics
Address your moral distress
Liaisons support nurses who need to air ethical concerns.
nursing ethics
LGBTQ care up close
The LGBTQ community has special needs requiring special care.
nursing ethics
BSN in 10 changes things
The New York law raises education requirement for RNs.
nursing ethics
There's power in a hug
Babies need to be touched and held in order for them to thrive.
nursing ethics
The ethics of advocacy
Nurses can be forces of change outside of their workplaces.
nursing ethics
When the end of life is near
Patients need nurses more than ever in their final days.
nursing ethics
Call out unsafe practices
Speaking out against a colleague is intimidating, but necessary.
nursing ethics
8 key assumptions
Leaders draft a blueprint that prioritizes nursing ethics.
nursing ethics
Make every day count
A nurse helps a dying patient spend more time with his young daughter.
CE catalog
Learn important ethics lessons by taking these education modules.
nursing ethics
Keep it confidential
Community RNs must follow confidentiality and privacy policies.
nursing ethics
Know the code
Prepare for patient care challenges by learning the Code of Ethics.
nursing ethics
Who's your go-to person?
RNs share whom they turn to when faced with an ethical dilemma.
nursing ethics
How to make ethical decisions
Patient care decisions start with knowing what the patient wants.
nursing ethics
Choose your words wisely
Medical staff taped comments land them in hot water.
nursing ethics
Protect whistleblowers
Whistleblowers can face repercussions without protection.
nursing ethics
FREE CE: Gene testing
Patients can get gene testing kits on the web. But should they?
nursing ethics
A beautiful death
Treat patients as you would want a family member treated at the end.
How to Navigate
Move forward or backward between articles by clicking the arrows.
Click or tap to bring up the Table of Contents.
Share articles by clicking on one of the social media icons in the upper right corner of the page.
Use your mouse wheel, keyboard arrow keys, or scroll bar to move up and down in an article.
The power of touch and hugs for babies
Research reveals infants need soothing human contact to thrive
By Joanne Kuller
MS, RN Neonatal clinical nurse specialist
Advertise with
© 2021 from Relias. All rights reserved.
1010 Sync Street
Morrisville, NC 27560
Touch is a natural part of nearly everything that parents, neonatal intensive care nurses and well-baby nurses do for their young patients. We cannot bathe them,
change their diapers
or take their temperatures when hospitalized without doing so.

But procedural, passing touch with caregiving is not enough. For babies to truly thrive, they need to be held and touched soothingly.

Research has shown intentional touch can deliver neurologic, behavioral and cognitive benefits to a developing infant. These benefits include helping the baby to relax and sleep, regulating the infant hormones that control stress, reducing crying and even inducing healthy weight gain in premature babies, according to the
Mayo Clinic
and a
National Center for Biotechnology Information abstract

As nurses, we categorize “touch” into three types:
  • Hugging or holding:
    Cuddling, hugging and rocking newborn babies, most often done by the family, nurse or volunteer hugger.
  • Massaging:
    Using a gentle touch to slowly stroke (without tickling) and knead each part of the baby’s body,
    extending and flexing their arms and legs.

  • Skin-to-skin or “kangaroo” care:
    The mother holds the
    diaper-clad infant
    against her skin beneath her clothing. For fathers, partners and other family members, the
    baby may be held against the skin
    as well.
Joanne Kuller, MS, RN, is a neonatal nurse specialist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (Calif.). She is also a member of Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Neonatal Skin Care Evidence-based Guideline development team, as well as a member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses. Joanne is part of the Huggies® Nursing Advisory Council, a multidisciplinary group of experts in neonatal care that work together to identify gaps in understanding and resources about developmental care in the context of diapering, especially for preterm infants.
Boost your learning with CE created by nurses for nurses
Start Now
Grant supports volunteer hugger programs
Knowing that touch is so important to an infant’s development, Huggies is proud to support the
No Baby Unhugged
grant program, which provides hospitals with grants for the initiation of new programs or continued support of existing volunteer hugger programs in the NICU.

To date, 11 hospitals in the United States have taken advantage of this grant program, one of which is the hospital NICU where I work, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital NICU in Oakland, Calif.

This program has proven very successful and many babies and their families have benefited from it. I also have found that volunteer huggers receive a lot of fulfillment from their time spent holding.
How to ensure babies benefit from touch
As nurses, we know the
positive benefits of touch in the NICU
. Science has shown physical touch, like hugging, has a powerful effect on infants’ mental, emotional and physical development, both in the short and long term.

However, due to workload, we aren’t always able to provide it. Parents aren’t always able to be with their baby as much as they would like to be.

Many NICUs are open 24 hours a day to parents, but it can be extremely difficult for some parents to be in the NICU on a daily basis. Many issues, including transportation, a need to work or care for other children and distance from the hospital can
play a part in limiting visitations

Parents are the ideal providers of positive touch to their infant, but fortunately, there is an option beyond families and NICU nurses for providing babies the touch they need.

Of the three types of touch, hugging/holding is the simplest technique to teach volunteers. Hospitals have seen this as an opportunity to implement volunteer hugging programs to help more infants get the hugs they need to thrive while hospitalized in the NICU.

A preterm baby often will have a variety of medical issues. Advances in neonatal care has enabled babies to survive at lower gestational ages. The mortality and morbidity of NICU patients has decreased over the last few decades, as well.

In the past, it was a victory to be able to send an extremely low birth weight preterm baby home with their parents.

Now it’s time to raise the bar! We want these young patients to not only go home healthy, but also thrive and have the best neurodevelopmental outcome possible.
to learn more about the
Power of Human Touch
for Babies
and how
No Baby Unhugged
grants can support establishing or strengthening Hugger programs.

If interested in a grant,
complete your application today
. Grants are awarded quarterly.
Science has shown physical touch, like hugging, has a powerful effect on infants’ mental, emotional and physical development, both in the short and long term.