The Incredible Way a Crocheted Octopus Is Changing The Lives Of Preemies

For preemies in an incubator, finding comfort in those early weeks can seem almost impossible. But for some preemies, a crochet octopus is making them and their parents feel better.

February 07, 2017
By: Amanda Mushro

Photo by: Kid Spot

Kid Spot

Any mother can tell you that a "lovie" can quickly comfort their baby and help them sleep. For preemies in an incubator, finding comfort in those early weeks can seem almost impossible. But for some preemies, a crochet octopus is making them and their parents feel better.

Poole Hospital in Dorset, England, recently announced that premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit were seeing better health and overall well-being from cuddling a crocheted octopus. Daniel Lockyer, neonatal services matron, said "It's incredible that something so simple can comfort a baby and help them feel better."

The cuddling has been dubbed "Tentacles for Tinies," and the hospital says that the octopus' arms remind preemies of the umbilical cord, which remind them of their mother's womb, making them feel calm and comforted. Giving preemies a crochet octopus is based on a program that originated in a Danish hospital called the Octo Project. Lockyer says "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."

Kat Smith, a mom of twins, delivered her girls at 28 weeks. She says that her "miracle girls" are doing well, in part, to their favorite toy. "One of the nurses brought in the octopus and explained about the idea. The girls absolutely love them." She said, "When they are asleep they hold onto the tentacles tightly. Normally they would be in the womb and would play with the umbilical cord so the octopuses make them feel grounded and safe. They really are beautiful.

When the hospital announced plans to use the crocheted octopus, they shared the pattern with the hopes of receiving donations. The response has been overwhelming and the hospital has received more than 200 of the crocheted toys.

For the parents of these preemie babies, they too can rest a little easier knowing their babies are comforted and happy with their new favorite toy.

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