Tentacles for tinies
Premature babies at Poole Hospital have a new best friend – a
crochet octopus to cuddle up to in their incubators.
While they may seem like an
unlikely bedfellow for the babies on the neonatal unit these octopi
are linked to better health and wellbeing. It is thought the
tentacles remind babies of the umbilical cord, and being in their
mother’s womb, making them feel safer.
Now the hospital is looking to catch more
crochet octopi; enough for every baby on the unit to have one to
snuggle and take home when they’re better. Each octopus will be
packed into a special gift bag complete with a card about the
project and offered to parents. They can be any colour and vary in
size from small (for equally small babies) to large.
The unique idea originates from a hospital
in Denmark where they found the octopi comforted babies and
calmed them. This promoted better breathing and more regular
heartbeats as well as higher levels of oxygen in their blood. They
also found that babies cuddling an octopus were less likely to try
to pull out their monitors and tubes.
Daniel Lockyer, neonatal services matron,
said: “When we heard about the difference a cuddly octopus can make
to our tiny babies we were impressed and, after research, eager to
introduce them to our little patients.
"It’s incredible that something so simple can
comfort a baby and help them feel better. We’re very grateful for
all donations of crochet octopi and we’re sure the families who use
our service will be too.”
Kat Smith, pictured above with daughters
Jasmine and Amber, were among the first to benefit from the