First Lady Melania Trump Visits Cuddling Program for Babies Born on Drugs

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
November 6, 2019USshare
First Lady Melania Trump Visits Cuddling Program for Babies Born on Drugs
First Lady Melania Trump sits and listens to doctors during a round table and visit to Boston Medical Center where she was informed about their Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and Infant stress program (CALM) as part of her Be Best initiative, in Boston, Mass., on Nov. 6, 2019. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

BOSTON—First lady Melania Trump visited a Boston hospital Wednesday that uses cuddling to help infants born dependent on drugs or alcohol.

The first lady met with caregivers and administrators at Boston Medical Center and told them she’s “very focused” on their pioneering work with babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

“I hope today’s visit helps shine a light on programs like yours,” she said.

Melania at hospital
First Lady Melania Trump (L) walks with pediatrician Eileen Costello, front right, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, behind center left, during a visit to Boston Medical Center, in Boston, on Nov. 6, 2019. (Steven Senne/AP Photo)

The hospital developed the cuddling program to nurture babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The hospital also works with expectant mothers who misuse drugs or alcohol.

Proponents say cuddling helps lower stress in infants born to addicted women. It includes parental presence at the infant’s bedside, skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding.

Mrs. Trump, visiting as part of her “Be Best” initiative, said she hopes the focus on such programs will help encourage people struggling with addiction that there is a path forward.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar also attended the event. Azar said the Trump administration has put a special focus on the problem, including advancing clinical trials on neonatal opioid withdrawal.

“Neonatal abstinence syndrome is one of the most heartbreaking parts of the opioid crisis,” Azar said.

After listening to the doctors and administrators, Mrs. Trump then spoke with doctors in front of the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The White House said she planned to tour the unit and meet with patients and their families.

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