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Premature Babies Find Comfort in the Arms of Crocheted Octopus Toys

Babies born prematurely are at risk for a number of health complications, such as delays in development or cerebral palsy. Additionally, premature birth is the number one killer of newborns. Therefore, any step that can be taken to improve the health of these tiny babies is essential.

One hospital in Brazil has discovered that premature babies benefit from a treatment that does not require additional medication or therapy. Instead, a woolly octopus toy, handmade by a team of generous volunteers, is placed with premature newborns at Curitiba Maternity Hospital. Each octopus takes about two hours to make. The tentacles on each octopus soothe the newborns, as they mimic the conditions of the womb. The tentacles make the babies feel as though they are still attached to the umbilical cord.

One hospital staff member explained, “It makes them feel safe and reminds them of the warm and secure place they’ve just left.”

In addition to providing comfort to the newborns, nurses and other staff members reported that they do not have to reinsert monitors and tubes into the babies’ veins as often, because the babies grab onto the octopus tentacles instead of the tubes that surround them. One staff member also said, “Our babies are not pulling out the devices as frequently as before because their small hands are grabbing onto the octopus’s tentacles instead. The toy’s legs mimic the umbilical cord and this gives our high risk babies a sense of tranquility which helps to improve their breathing and regulate their heartbeat.”

The soft octopus toys also provide comfort to the babies’ parents. Instead of viewing their children crying and agitated, surrounded by scary machines, they are able to greet their newborns as their tiny hands hold on to the octopus. Seeing their babies comforted by a colorful, soft toy is a pleasant sight for these anxious parents, who must wonder if their babies will thrive and be able to go home.

One parent commented about her premature son, “It was very difficult when he first arrived in intensive care because he was agitated, and it broke my heart to see him writhing and crying in the incubator. We had our doubts when they suggested using the octopus. But we were grateful for anything that was going to calm him down and bring him home. We noticed a difference almost immediately. When he lies close to the octopus and clings to the tentacles he is no longer as agitated as before. And we’re learning how to use it to help soothe him now.”

If the baby’s parents agree, two octopuses are provided to the baby. Each is sterilized to ensure harmful bacteria and other microorganisms are killed. Upon being discharged from the hospital, the octopuses are the baby’s to keep, a special memento of overcoming major challenges in the first weeks of life.

Our Ohio birth injury attorneys help families find answers

Premature births can be the result of medical negligence. If your child was born prematurely and did not receive proper medical treatment, or if you feel that your child suffered a birth injury, contact the birth injury attorneys of The Eisen Law Firm today. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online.