Here is something that will warm your heart: Premature babies are getting some extra cuddles and attention… from stuffed octopuses.
As we all know, touch is so key for humans, especially for newborns. Numerous studies have found that newborns don’t just enjoy physical touch, they need it in order for their brains and bodies to thrive.
However, for premature babies, touch can be hard to come by. Although their moms and dads are eager to hold and snuggle them, these wee babies have to spend much of their time in incubators or hooked up to monitors.
But, luckily, there are many ways that little boys and girls can enjoy plenty of snuggles. Premature babies at Poole Hospital in Dorset, England, are being given handmade octopuses to hold and cuddle while they are in their little beds.
The octopuses are not just small and soft (perfect for little hands) but the tentacles mimic the umbilical cord in the womb, which some babies cling onto while they are in mama’s belly. Hence, holding on to the octopus tentacles helps them to feel safe and secure, just like they did in utero. Research from Denmark shows that these octopuses can help babies feel calm, leading to better heart rates, stronger breathing and improved oxygen flow in the blood.
Not to mention, they are just adorable. It should be noted, however, as in the case of these ZAKY gloves for NICU babies, which mimic the sensation of being held, that safe sleep recommendations advise against putting anything in the crib with your infant. You should definitely check with your doctor before use.
If you want to participate and crochet some octupuses for the premie babies at Poole Hospital (or for a premature baby you know and love personally), you can find the pattern for the octopus lovie here.
h/t: Good Housekeeping