When Andrea Rogers Mersiovsky’s daughter was born premature at Texas Health Plano Presbyterian, the baby was given a strange gift.
For the first month of her life, her daughter slept next to a small crochet octopus. Now, Mersiovky and several other crochet experts are teaming up to provide the quirky gifts to babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The initiative is part of Octo Project, a pattern used by crochet lovers internationally. According to Mersiovsky, the octopuses provide comfort for the babies.
At first, Mersiovsky was confused by the sight of her daughter holding a tiny octopus. But she later found out how common the crochet NICU visitors were.
“These little hands and fingers grab hold of these tentacles and it calms them,” she said.
Rules in NICUs are strict as hospitals continue restricting visitors. At Plano Presbyterian, family members are limited to virtual visits with patients. But according to Mersiovsky, soft octopuses are abundant inside the rooms.
“Might sound crazy, but I’ve seen it work firsthand,” she said.
“The tentacles replicate the umbilical cord, which babies hold onto in the womb. With the tentacles to hold, the babies are less likely to pull out tubes and monitoring cables that are attached to their tiny bodies.”
Crochet octopuses for NICU babies follow strict guidelines on their making. The yarn used for the projects must be 100 percent cotton.
“Materials have to be very specific, due to the nature of these critical babies, only certain yarn can be used, certain filler,” Mersiovksy.
Crochet lovers in Plano can find the guidelines for the octo-project at mynomadhome.com.