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14th Sep 2023

The heartwarming reason why premature babies are given octopus teddies


Octopus teddies aren’t just a cute friend for your early arrival.

If you’ve given birth to a premature baby, you’ll know firsthand that the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) experience isn’t an easy one.

It can be full of intense and stressful emotions for both new parents and their early arrivals, which is why a little crocheted friend for your baby is provided after they’ve landed earthside.

Perhaps you know the touching reason why premature babies are given octopus teddies. If you don’t, it’s going to make your heart smile.

One mum to a beautiful preemie named Nahla shared the reason on the Tiny Hearts Educations Instagram account, detailing the birth and the origin of these adorable knitted pals.

She explained that these small octopuses are knitted by groups such as ‘Octopuses for a Preemie’ in such a way that the tentacles feel like an umbilical cord for the baby to adjust to the world before their due date.

“The octopuses are placed in incubators or cots with preterm bubs, allowing them to grab onto the tentacles. While growing inside your tummy, bub’s grab their cord, which this teddy is designed to mimic.


“As a result, bubs will leave their cords, monitoring lines, and wires alone because they’re too busy holding the tentacles,” she explained.

She advises anyone who knows their little one will be born preterm to ask for one of these teddies and pop it down your shirt so it has your smell.

It is hoped that these teddies will remain with your baby after they’re born and go home with them after you have both been discharged.

The NICU mamma shared that this process helped with her own separation anxiety as she left her ‘precious baby girl in the hands of someone else.’

“My heart ached that I couldn’t be right beside her every second, singing to her and holding her hands. So having something like this that would’ve smelt like me and given her comfort would’ve improved my mama guilt dramatically by knowing that even though we weren’t together, a little piece of me was still right there with her.”

Not only do these little knitted octopuses provide comfort for you and your preterm baby, but they’re also a beautiful keepsake to go along with their birth story.

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