health

"I’d almost lost my daughter. I needed to be with her, skin-to-skin, holding her."

Whenever I am away from my children, my arms feel so empty. Even though they are older now, we still hug several times a day, and not just when they are sick or injured or upset. We hug, just because. We hug because nothing is more healing, more uplifting than feeling the arms of someone you love so much wrapped tightly around you. This became even clearer to me on one particular day, more than any other.

When my daughter was a fragile six-week-old she became incredibly ill due to an undiagnosed cow’s milk allergy. It saw her being rushed to hospital in an ambulance, her tiny body limp, her eyes unfocused and her energy depleted.

That day I  decided to spend some time with my boys. I was worried I hadn’t been paying them enough attention since my daughter’s birth. We had such a wonderful time together.

benefit of hugs
“We hug because nothing is more healing, more uplifting than feeling the arms of someone you love so much wrapped tightly around you. This became even clearer to me on one particular day, more than any other.” Image: supplied.
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My daughter was left in the loving care of a close relative who had no experience with food allergies. I, on the other hand, had too much experience thanks to my oldest child. Still, I left my relative with only three bottles of expressed milk and a tin of baby formula, which I had never tested her on. I just never thought I’d end up with another food-allergic child, nor did I think they would be allergic to completely different things.

By the time I arrived home she had vomited steadily for hours, been unable to sleep and was severely dehydrated — none of which I had been told during the seven times I’d called to check on her.

The moment I walked through the door I knew something was wrong. I was handed my limp daughter who faintly smiled at me. I reached for the phone to call for an ambulance, tuning out any explanations, and then spent the next few minutes trying to get her to muster enough energy to take a few precious sips of breast milk.

By the time the ambulance arrived she’d fed a little, however they transported her to the nearest children’s hospital. I was allowed to sit in the back of the ambulance and continue to feed her. All three of us – myself and the two paramedics – were crowded around her watching her trying to latch on and when she eventually got a firm grip and started drawing in deep gulps. We all smiled at each other.

benefits of hugs
“By the time I arrived home she had vomited steadily for hours, been unable to sleep and was severely dehydrated — none of which I had been told during the seven times I’d called to check on her.” Image via iStock.

She then collapsed in my arms. I screamed. I thought she was unconscious. They checked her and found that she was just in a deep sleep.

We spent the next 12 hours in hospital for observation and I’ll never forget the sight of her tiny body lying on a hospital bed dressed in just a newborn nappy, wires attached to her small finger and her little chest. They’d asked me if I wanted a cot for her but I wanted to lie down beside her.

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I’d almost lost my daughter. I knew how close I came. I needed to be with her, skin-to-skin, holding her as she gathered her strength enough to come home.

A new study from Huggies with Australian midwives has found that 99 per cent agree that hugs and affection are important to the healing process for sick children, with 98 per cent stating that hugs can help children recover more quickly during illness.

I felt my daughter’s strength return to her because I was holding her the entire time. She knew I was there and I didn’t let go. However without the miracle of modern medicine, all three of my children would have been in peril at different times in their lives.

benefits of hugs
Jo Abi with all three of her healthy, happy kids. Image: supplied.

To share the power of a hug with sick babies and toddlers across Australia, Huggies has launched the Hugs for Healing campaign to help fund vital medical equipment to save sick babies’ and toddler’s lives. This November, Huggies is calling for all Australians to join them in helping Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia, an organisation that provides 1.65 million treatments for sick and injured children through five incredible hospitals.

All you need to do is buy Huggies Nappies bulk packs and they will donate $1 from each purchase to the foundation, up to $150,000. These funds will help with the purchase of high-priority medical equipment like a High Resolution Gastrointestinal Manometre in New South Wales, insulin pumps in Western Australia and a neo-natal incubator in South Australia.

Help spread the word by sharing this beautiful video with family and friends…

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