Tommy's news, 12/02/2017
Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark has set a trend by discovering that knitted octopus toys comfort premature babies whilst in the baby care unit.
Medical staff found that the toys calmed babies and led to improved breathing and cardiac patterns.
It has been suggested that gripping the tentacles might remind the babies of their mother’s umbilical cord.
Premature babies are often unwell in the early stages of their lives due to their early start.
These octopus toys have been found to make babies less likely to pull on the cables and tubes surrounding their incubators.
Our midwife Anna says,
‘The environment that our little preterm babies find themselves in is so different from being in the womb. Adapting from a warm, dark, weightless, stable environment with the comforting sound of their Mother’s voice, heartbeat, digestion and muffled noise from the outside; to a bright, noisy, busy neonatal unit is a shock to every sense a baby has. Over many years dedicated staff in the neonatal field have worked to minimise the stress of their surroundings and make the premature baby’s wellbeing a priority so that the baby can continue to develop and grow at a similar rate as they would in utero. Both parents and neonatal staff are witnessing just how beneficial the knitted octopus toys are at regulating babies breathing and heart rate and making the babies feel safe which is a basic human need however old you are.’
More than a dozen care units around Europe are now taking part in this octopus therapy project, including Poole Hospital in Dorest which has been the first hospital in the UK to join.
If you’re a whiz with a pair of knitting needles, you can lend Poole Hospital your support. They are appealing for more people to help making these toys by putting the crochet pattern online. To find it, go to poole.nhs.uk and search for octopus.
Get our free app for parents of premature babies. It is the first of its kind in the UK. 'My Premature Baby' is available on all devices (phones, tablets).
Skin-to-skin contact with your premature baby is a wonderful way for you both to bond. It also provides health benefits.
You will play an important part in your premature baby's care, even while they are in the NICU.
Your premature baby's diet will be carefully balanced to suit their tiny digestive system while meeting the needs of their growing body.