Pregnancy & Birth

Midwives are loving this octopus toy designed to mimic a mother’s umbilical cord

Parents can't get enough either!

By Rebel Wylie

Families of preemie babies who have been through the hospital system might be familiar with the concept of 'Octopus for Preemies', where volunteers would crochet teeny tiny octopus toys, whose tentacles would meet the natural grasp reflex of a preemie baby, helping to soothe them.

Renowned infant toy manufacturer, Nattou has now taken that concept and made it readily available for all parents, not just preemie parents whose babies are now benefiting from the comfort of an octopus style comforter.

Cat Law, known as 'Your Pocket Midwife' on Instagram and who currently works in Special Care Nursery spoke with Now To Love and describes exactly how well these toys work.

"I've worked with babies who have received the handmade crocheted octopus by a volunteer group called Octopus for Premmies. Watching them have something to grab onto instead of pulling at wires and tubes is beneficial to both the babies and the nursing staff. The fact that all parents can now access this kind of comforter thanks to Nattou is incredible."

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Midwife Cat Law has seen the benefits of octopus style comforters and knows they work.
Midwife Cat Law has seen the benefits of octopus style comforters and knows they work.

Why an octopus?

Tentacles, designed to perfectly meet the natural grasp reflex of a baby serve to soothe and relax a newborn. Reminded of the calmness of being in their mum's belly with an umbilical cord to hold onto, babies are also deterred from attempting to pull out their monitors and tubes.

The unique idea for a octopus-style comforter originated in Denmark, and was known as The Octo Project. Volunteer crocheters donated "Octos" to families with premmies in 16 of the neonatal departments in Denmark with great success.

The concept went global, as the benefits began to show. Benefits like improved breathing, increased regular heartbeats and higher levels of oxygen in the blood.

The tentacles play to a baby's natural grasp reflex.
The tentacles play to a baby's natural grasp reflex.

"Babies will develop that grasp reflex in the womb from about 11 weeks," says Cat. "That reflex continues until about six months of age.

"Mothers can also place the crocheted critter down her top for several hours to cover it with her scent, which adds an additional calming element for babies."

Because previously the octopus toys were provided to hospitals by volunteers, that special kind of comfort was not available to babies who had not been through the system. This new toy means that parents can now find the comforters that midwives love for their children at home.

The Nattou Octopus is available online or in store at Baby Bunting and all other leading baby products stores nationally for only $19.95.

Always remember to observe SIDS safe sleeping guides with the use of this toy.

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