The "Power of Touch" and Infant Cuddling Programs

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2015/08/27 18:20


In spring of 2015, CAPHC was approached by Huggies diapers with questions about baby/infant cuddling programs at hospitals across Canada.  Leveraging some of CAPHC's existing research partnerships, and expertise from with our membership we brought together a team of experts to look at the importance of 'hugs' for Canada's infants.  All of this work has supported the development of a partnership between Huggies and CAPHC called the "No Baby Unhugged Initiative".

Join us as we hear from experts from the CAPHC community as we explore the evidence on the importance of human touch for infants, and examine how some hospitals are using infant cuddling programs as a low cost strategy designed  to leverage the benefits of human touch, and improve outcomes for infants and families.

Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo from the IWK Health Centre will present the results of their white paper, "The Power of Touch", where they examine what the scientific literature is telling us about the benefits of touch for infants.

We will then be joined by colleagues Sandra Payne from Southlake Regional Health Centre and Nanette Labelle of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) as they present their volunteer cuddling programs, share their experiences and lead a discussion about how we can achieve better health outcomes through greater awareness of the importance of human touch for all infants.

For more information about the No Baby Unhugged Initiative, or to view the white paper, "The Power of Touch", go to  As part of this initiative, Huggies is interested in supporting CAPHC members that do not currently have an infant cuddling program, but have a need, and are interested in starting one.  If your organization is interested in this opportunity, please contact CAPHC at


Cuddler Program Slide Deck

White Paper - "The Power of Touch"

Video - The Power of a Parent's Touch


Campbell-Yeoheadshot11.jpgMarsha Campbell-Yeo 

Dr. Campbell-Yeo is an assistant professor, certified neonatal nurse practitioner and clinician scientist at the School of Nursing (with cross appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics, Psychology and Neuroscience) at Dalhousie University and Centre for Pediatric Pain Research, IWK Health Centre. She holds grants examining maternal led interventions, primarily related to touch, to improve outcomes of medically at risk newborns specifically related to pain, stress and neurodevelopment.

headshot.jpgSandra Payne 

Sandra Payne is a nurse educator for the Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket.  Sandra was educated at McMaster University and has been a neonatal and paediatric nurse for 18 years working in various hospitals within the GTA including The Hospital for Sick Children, Mount Sinai and Markham Stouffville Hospital.  Sandra transitioned from bedside care to an educator role with Southlake Regional Health Centre in 2012. She is the Breastfeeding Friendly lead for the hospital and is a certified NRP instructor and coordinator. As a paediatric nurse educator Sandra has developed and implemented a number of new initiatives within the maternal child program, including the volunteer cuddler program within the NICU, the newly diagnosed Paediatric Diabetic  3 day education series and numerous Paediatric Oncology Workshops.

DSC3493.JPGNanette Labelle - Nanette Labelle has managed the volunteer and high school Co-Operative Education programs for the Children Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) since 2000. 

With over 50 volunteer roles available, Nanette has developed and implemented a number of new initiatives within the volunteer program, including the support to stable technology-dependent patients though stimulation, the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), and the Patient Safety Ambassador. She was the lead implementer and supervisor for the Peak Season Screening program that oversaw volunteer Screeners inform patients, families and visitors by greeted all who accessed the in-patient units by asking health screening questions, information on Visitor Guidelines, and promoted all to practice hand hygiene. 

Nanette works collaboratively with the Volunteer Association in supporting their mission throughout the hospital and celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2015. 

Created by Ann Watkins on 2015/07/28 18:14