cuddling infants

Compassionate Care, Wrapped with a Cuddle

Mar 22 2018

Cuddling infants is just one way we provide compassionate care — learn how one volunteer goes the extra mile.

Volunteers are an important role at our facilities thanks to the additional support they provide patients every day. One particular volunteer at Mercy Health Children’s Hospital in Toledo is very special to our youngest patients.

Sister Cecile Sakaley spends many hours cuddling and holding newborn babies in the neonatal intensive care unit and well infant nursery. In addition to being a full-time employee at Mercy Health, she volunteers as a cuddler two Saturday mornings each month.

Alongside other volunteers, Cecile roams the unit and listens for a baby to “speak up.” Cuddling infants doesn’t just support staff; it helps in newborn development as well. This is especially important to babies with opioid addictions.

Sister Cecile is known for taking the extra step in her role. She creates name cards for all the newborns and provides parents the opportunity to make a scrapbook for their baby. In pediatrics, she helps children with homework. She offers support to young patients who are alone and accompanies therapy dog owners visiting pediatric patients.

She also cares for long-term labor and delivery patients by transporting them to maternal fetal medicine for early morning ultrasounds before out-patients start arriving.

In her ninth year in Mission and Family Services for Pediatrics, NICU and Labor and Delivery, Sister Cecile certainly brings compassionate care to our patients.

Michelle Sonnenberg, mother to NICU twin boys Kaleb and Kody, stated, “Having this resource – it’s great. We are very thankful we chose to come here. You can tell they’re here for the children. The support is incredible.”

At Mercy Health, compassionate care is at the core of all we do. Visit or call 513-952-5000 to learn more about Mercy Health Children’s Hospital or one of our other facilities today.

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Bonnue Nadaud

I live in Brown County, Ohio 45171 Is this being done near me??? Any info available would be appreciated!! Bonnie Nadaud
March 23rd, 2018 | 11:18am

Christina Miller

Would love to be a volunteer to cuddle babies.
March 24th, 2018 | 12:14pm

Lora Johnson

I would love to volunteer to cuddle babies in the Toledo area. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and now I have the time to do it.
March 26th, 2018 | 5:40pm

Lori Mathews

I would be a perfect cuddle volunteer! My children and children in-laws call me the 'baby whisperer'. Please contact me with any needs for this wonderful opportunity.
March 27th, 2018 | 7:45pm

Mercy Health

Hi Lori, Lora, Christina, and Bonnue! Thanks for your interest. You can learn more and apply for volunteer opportunities here:
April 02nd, 2018 | 9:46am

Linda Collins

I'm a nurse doing long term care three days a week. I would love being on the other side Helping a child. I live in Elyria Ohio. Let me know how I could look further into this. Thank you.
April 05th, 2018 | 11:12pm

Mercy Health

Hi Linda! Please visit the following link: We're looking forward to being in touch soon!
April 11th, 2018 | 10:01am

Ella W Emerson

My name is Ella Emerson, I thought only Baptist in Paducah was offering this kind of Volunteer opportunity Kangaroo care Service??? Please send me more information on hours needed and policies and procedures especially on what is acceptable to wear... Many Thanks! Ella in Lone Oak,Ky
August 27th, 2018 | 3:36pm

Mercy Health

Hi Ella, to get in touch about volunteer opportunities, please fill out this form: Someone from our volunteer team will be in touch with more details. Thanks!
August 28th, 2018 | 11:03am

Lisa R Stennett

I would live to volunteer to cuddle babies. How do I go about this? I live in Bowling green ohio
September 26th, 2018 | 10:20am

Mercy Health

Hi Lisa, please fill out this form and select the location closest to you!
September 26th, 2018 | 1:21pm

Cynthia Higgins

I am interested in your volunteer program as a baby cuddled. I've just retired after 42 years with Owens-Illinois. I would like to know what steps I need to take for this opportunity. Thank you.
October 09th, 2018 | 4:29pm


I'm 16 but can I still do this? I absolutely love babies and I have many younger siblings and one of them Is now 2 so I know how to hold babies properly and I took child development classes and I have been wanting to do this but I was too I still?
October 16th, 2018 | 7:09pm

Pamela l kuebler

I was volunteering at a school k-8 resident grandma Pam. I miss the kids so much and want to get back to volunteering. I have so much love to give and know there's plenty of baby's these days that need warm true love. I had my FBI etc check done. Would so love to be part of a program like this.
November 01st, 2018 | 2:35pm

Rhonda Kuntz

I am a recently retired letter carrier for the US postal service with no grandchildren and would love to find a way to give back and feed my baby craving. . I am healthy, and strong and have a positive attitude about life. I’m a Christian woman, active in my small group circles at church, a prayer warrior. Please tell me how to go about volunteering in the NICU.
January 08th, 2019 | 12:33pm

Mercy Health

Hi Rhonda! Please fill out our volunteers form. A local representative will be in touch.
January 08th, 2019 | 2:38pm

Ashley Scott

hello my name is Ashley . and I would love to see about becoming a cuddler . fur rain the fact 7 years ago I was one of those mothers that had a child in the nicu and it can be scary . and I had given birth to two premature baby boys three months early and I experienced both outcomes i lost one of my son's a few hours after birth . and I also watch my other son become stronger everyday and the amazing experience with the nicu and staff . and I wanna give back to the same unit that gave so much two me. thank you in advance
January 24th, 2019 | 12:51pm

Lashaun Coates

Hi my name is Lashaun Coates and I would love to become apart of this volunteer program. I love children and comforting them is something I would love to do. Please tell me how to go about volunteering in the NICU.
February 28th, 2019 | 11:32am

Alexandra Lincoln

Hi Lashaun, thank so much for your interest. You can learn more and apply for volunteer opportunities here:
March 03rd, 2019 | 10:28am

Tom Kroma, Volunteer Services - Mercy Health - St. Vincent Medical Center & Children's Hospital

The Community has been absolutely incredible in stepping up to participate in the cuddling program, so much so, that we have an extensive waiting list to help with this program. While we can always add someone's name to a waiting list, I would encourage those willing and able to give the gift of their time to consider other meaningful volunteer opportunities within our Ministry at this time.
March 19th, 2019 | 11:51am


I would love to be a cuddle buddy Anything in Cleveland area
March 28th, 2019 | 6:50am

Robin johnson

I would love to cuddle babies.
March 31st, 2019 | 10:30pm

Karen Memmer

I would love to volunteer my time in cuddling babies that need lots of it. I live in bowling green how do I go about it?
April 03rd, 2019 | 8:00pm

Sharon Hollander

I'm interested in being one of your "cuddles". How do I go about it? Thank you!
April 09th, 2019 | 1:54pm

Sharon Hollander

I'm interested in being one of your "cuddlers" in the St. Louis area.How do I go about it? Thank you!
April 09th, 2019 | 1:55pm

Wendy Ragonesi

I would love to be a cuddle. I believe the warmth and human touch heal a baby. It any opportunities come along. Please, I would love to volunteer.
May 31st, 2019 | 8:16am

Clare Cantleberry

I would love to help out as much as I can! Please contact me with information I would need!:)
June 26th, 2019 | 10:41am

Carolyn Urbanowicz

Am interested in your cuddle program
August 28th, 2019 | 5:20pm

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