Having a premature baby is such a stressful time. Everyone talks about welcoming a child into the world as being magical and wonderful. Welcoming a preemie is downright scary. Watching your little miracle and all they achieve can be described as magical but not in the same way. Mostly you are in a state of awe and worry as while sitting by their incubator or cot side.

You’d do anything to ease them of any discomfort or pain. You feel helpless and you have to fight that maternal instinct as you rely on someone else to help heal your child. There are things that preemie parents can do though and are actively encouraged to do. Reading to their baby. Providing as many Kangaroo cuddles as they can. Getting involved with cares. Also wearing bonding hearts to put in the incubator or cot are just a few. Preemie octopuses are another aid to help with this roller coaster of a journey.

So what are they?!

Preemie octopuses have become a very popular gift for premature babies. When my son was on the neonatal unit I didn’t really see too many of them. My mum made me aware of them when doing some research into clothes for my son. He was born at 30 weeks by an emergency c-section. My 30 week scan showed that he had Hydrops and Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT). The decision was that if he was to have any chance of survival they needed to get him out and quickly.

Premature baby holding a rainbow coloured preemie octopus. Photography credit: Izzy Proudfoot
Premature baby holding a preemie octopus.
Photography credit: Izzy Proudfoot

We were struggling to find clothes when my little boy graduated from his incubator to a cot. My mum decided she needed to do something instead of sitting and worrying so she dusted off her knitting needles and crochet hook and went searching the internet for premature baby related items she could make.

In her search she came across a preemie octopus. She prioritised making some clothes first then a few months later went on to make the octopus telling me about them and why they were specifically designed for premature babies. She made my son one and even though he had been discharged from the neonatal unit it was a hit straight away!

Preemie octopus popularity

In just 2 years I have seen a huge rise in their popularity. The idea of the preemie octopuses is originally from Denmark in 2013 as a comforting aid for premature babies. The tentacles mimic the umbilical cord and provide them with something to hold. Knowing from experience those tiny little hands tend to come across all sorts of wires and tubes that they then like to pull. The alarm attached to my son triggered on many occasions because he had pulled his breathing tube out!

Crocheted green preemie octopus
Crocheted green preemie octopus

Some research has been carried out and the preemie octopuses have shown positive results in calming babies down, leading to better breathing, heart rates and high oxygen levels in the premature baby.

The criteria for making the preemie octopuses is strict and they have to be made with 100% cotton yarn and the stuffing of a good quality. They have to be washed on a 60 degree wash to kill off any harmful germs so they need to be able to take the heat! The tentacles also have to be a particular length.

Crocheted yellow preemie jellyfish
Crocheted yellow preemie jellyfish

They introduced to the UK in the middle of 2016 and have quickly grown in their popularity. A lovely lady called Donna got in touch with me and said she had heard about the preemie octopus and was I thinking of putting them on my website. It’s been a very long time since I have picked up a crochet hook! After seeing Donna’s work I fell in love with them. She sent me CE approved jellyfish and octopus, we only ordered a couple to see if you love them as much as we do!

Here’s a link to a sweet little YouTube video with an octopus in action.

There’s also a wonderful charity called Octopus for a Preemie UK. You can apply to get a free octopus for a premature baby.

Did you see…

In our last blog we covered Losing your confidence and identity when you become a mum, if this sounds like you then please do take a read.