"Baby Whisperer" helps parents at MCCG | News
Some employees at Medical Center of Central Georgia have nicknamed Rena Pearson-Shaver "the Baby Whisperer," and for a very good reason.
Shaver, a retired pediatric nurse, is one of many volunteers at the pediatric intensive care unit.
There is where she rocks, cuddles, and talks to babies, usually for 3 or 4 hours a day.
Since she started volunteering in November, she's put in at least 100 hours.
"A lot of the contact that happens to these children is not pleasant, they get IVs started. They have lots of tubes and stuff like that," Shaver said, "So to give them the opportunity to have touch and comfort that is just nice and cozy, and cuddle and stuff like normal is why I'm here."
Dr. Mitch Rodriguez says Shaver has the right idea.
"Ideally, the best environment is for mothers or fathers to provide, what we call "kangaroo care," which is skin-to-skin contact," he said.
But sometime those parents can't, due to work, other children, or simply distance.
That's when volunteers like Shaver step in.
"The reason why Kangaroo care is so beneficial is because it settles the baby, it provides them with an environment with comfort, provides them of less episodes of crying," said Rodriguez.
It can also help them gain weight quicker, helping them get home sooner.
"I had one mom who almost cried when I told her I had been holding her baby a couple of days a week for her and she thought it was so nice and she got teary eyed," Shaver said.
"To be able to just hold them unconditionally and just say, 'You know it's OK. You're gonna be alright,' it just makes you feel good and it makes them feel good."
And that has their parents feeling good, too.
Applications are still being accepted to volunteer under a program that Shaver and Doctor Rodriguez are developing.
Click here to go to the Medical Center of Central Georgia volunteer page.