Sue Llewelyn, 66, from Pullenvale, Queensland, shares her story with Take 5:
Cuddling the beautiful newborn boy close to my chest, I felt his little heart beating.
“A, b, c, d, e, f, g …” I sang softly.
I’d just started volunteering as a cuddle carer at the Queensland Children’s Hospital and I felt like one very lucky lady.
Some days were tough because the beautiful bubs from the infants and emergency ward’s that needed cuddles were sick.
It broke my heart when it was hard to snuggle up to them because they were connected to a web of tubes.
But I took comfort in knowing I was helping babies and their parents, who needed a break to take a shower, have a nap, go to the shops of simply enjoy a hot cuppa.
“You take as long as you like,” I’d tell exhausted mums and dads. “Your bub is in safe hands.”
After retiring from my accounting job two years earlier, and with my three children having flown the nest, when I heard about cuddle carer roles, I jumped at the chance to train for the position.
I’d always adored babies and desperate to give back to the community, I’d found my calling.
With the nurses too busy to cuddle babies in between their check-ups I’d spend hours snuggling them close, singing the alphabet song.
It didn’t seem to matter how many times I whispered the letters into the precious babies’ ears – it always settled them down.
I’d been a cuddle carer for more than three years when the pandemic struck.
Sadly, we couldn’t visit the ward for months and I really missed holding the little bubs.
When we returned, we had to cuddle with our masks on which was different.
I’d always felt like my smile helped me connect with the little ones.
“It must be hard when you can’t see my face,” I whispered to the bubs.
When I met new people and tell them what I do, their faces light up.
“Cuddling babies must be the best job in the world,” they say.
While I agree wholeheartedly, it’s not always rosy.
I’ve had some awfully sad days when a child I’d become attached to has passed away.
While, I always tell myself not to build a bond it’s hard, some little ones are on the ward for months and, I’m only human.
Over the past five years I’ve cuddled and sang to hundreds of babies and believe me, every single one of them is the apple of my eye.
Bringing a smile to the face of a sick baby is a truly wonderful feeling.
I wouldn’t give it up for the world.