Crochet jellyfish buddies comfort infants in NICU, an imitation of the womb

Crochet jellyfish buddies comfort infants in NICU, an imitation of the womb (NTV News)

KEARNEY, Neb. (KHGI) - A local hospital is using their creative juices by finding cuddly creatures to keep sensitive infants healthy.

The CHI Good Samaritan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) adopted a Danish idea of giving premature babies a crocheted jellyfish to cuddle. It's not only cute –it could save their lives.

"He's all bundled up so let me get him," one nurse said.

Nash is one of four premature babies in the NICU who were given these cute crocheted Jellyfish.

The nurses were worried he would pull at one of five different tubes he is attached to – but a solution was on the way.

"One of our nurses, Jen, had seen this online about jellyfish and octopus and had just done some research to find all the information that she could get, so we could maybe start a program of our own," Diana Jorgensen, one R.N. at the NICU said.

That program: Jelly Buddies 4 Mandy.

The idea was originally from Danish researchers who implemented little stuffed octopi buddies. but due to stuffing that some U.S. NICUs prohibit, they became crochet jellyfish made with specific yarn, where Jelly Buddies 4 Many was born.

They do more than just keep infants from pulling on their chords.

"They have found that if the infants hold on to the tentacles, it's like holding onto the Umbilical Chord. If they touch [the body],– it's like the womb. And that helps them control their breathing better and their heart rate slows down. And it makes them more calm," Jorgensen explains.

After the child is out of intensive care, parents can take the cuddle buddies home too.

"The parents like them because someone isn't having to stand there and watch [the babies] constantly. It really assists us nurses too because we don't have to replace the monitors and the tubes all the time," Jorgensen said.

One friend and volunteer of Jorgensen has knitted eight for the NICU but anyone can make them.

"They can just be dropped off at our volunteer service," Jorgensen said.

If you'd like to donate your time and send in your own crocheted jellyfish, nurses say they need to be made with special yarn for the sensitive infants. The special pattern, directions, and types of yarn that need to be used is on the Jelly Buddies 4 Mandy facebook page.

They ask that you drop off the volunteer service desk and makes sure to send in the yarn label wrap so they can identify what yarn you have used.

Or you can mail them at the following address:

CHI Good Samaritan Attention NICU

10 East 31st St

Kearney NE 68847

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