An octopus-shaped puppet for premature babies

Octopus and premature babies

At the Borgo Trento hospital in Verona, colorful cotton molluscs roam the neonatal intensive care unit. Octopuses and jellyfish are the first toy that is given to young premature patients and their families, because here the principles of Octopus therapy. We talked about it with Federica Gecchelin, president of Premature Aps, a network of parents born in Verona who shared the very delicate experience of have premature babies and is committed to helping new families to face this moment with awareness and trust.

In this article

  • What is Octopus therapy?
  • How are octopus puppets made for premature babies?
  • Octopus and premature babies: how can this beautiful initiative be supported?

What is Octopus therapy?

Why an octopus?

"Octopus Therapy was born in Denmark at the Aarhus University Hospital in 2022 - explains Gecchelin - and there it was studied in depth how presenting these sprawling puppets in the intensive care wards could benefit newborns. In fact, both in the incubator and in the thermal cradles. in the open, this object not only distracted the little ones from the instinct to grab cables and pipes, but it was noticed that it involved a improvement in breathing and other vital signs of the child. This because the tentacles resemble the umbilical cord. THE

n particular for the little ones (newborns under two kilograms of weight), another important advantage was observed: parents, mainly mothers, were allowed to keep the cotton octopus on to impregnate it with your scent, with the aim of accompanying the whole family, parents and child to overcome the traumatic moment of detachment from that privileged mother-child space that is the mother's womb. Thanks to this support, children are allowed to maintain a bond with their mother. This project was then accepted in England and in Del Paese the first to join were the hospitals of Cesena, Rimini and Bologna Maggiore with the TINtacoli project".

Read also: Caressing a premature baby makes him feel better

How are octopus puppets made for premature babies?

"The octopus can be of any size and color, but it must follow gods precise implementation schemes - Clarifies the president of Prematurely -: it is made by hand with 100% Del Paeseno cotton following particular crochet stitches and the tentacle must not exceed 21, 22cm in length.

Compared to the TINtacoli initiative in Cesena, to which we have referred and with which we continue to collaborate, our project has its own peculiarities. First of all, we provide hospitals with sterile toys: this is thanks to the support of a father from our network who helps us in this procedure. Our project is called It was, a word of Greek origin which means to grow with care. In addition to the sterilization of the products, we have created two different puppets, the octopus and the jellyfish: the first is larger and has a padding on the head, as per experiences already tested in other hospitals. To this we have added the jellyfish, a puppet more suitable for babies under 2 kilograms: here there is no padding and the toy is flatter. We felt this variant could provide additional security. We found that the octopus or jellyfish should be offered immediately at birth, allowing this object to become personal to the families and remain as the child's first ever game ".

Read also: Therapy baby carrier for premature babies but not only

Octopus and premature babies: how can this beautiful initiative be supported?

"Our network makes use of willing people who take care of everything - adds Federica Gecchelin -. We are always looking for volunteers and many help us in making games as well as in finding materials. To those who want to help us we provide the schemes for the creation of octopuses: one of our representatives is then available to view the material produced so that there are no errors in the crochet stitches or risks of breaking the padding. Here in the area we also have agreements with a shop for the purchase of cotton at a special price for packaging. We have received stock of cotton as donations and as soon as we have it available we send it to our volunteers. We gladly accept to dialogue with other realities that want to undertake this path but we leave everyone the freedom to find out what their specific needs are and to experiment this path according to their needs: the hospitals with which we have come into contact so far have joined with enthusiasm ".

Read also: Premature babies, 10 things to know

Updated on 16.11.2022

  • premature babies
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