Project Goal: To provide therapeutic relief to premature babies in the NICU through products that mimic the babies mother
A Need in the NICU
Premature babies are born into a lot of stress. They can’t be held by their mothers as soon or often as healthy-born babies; they are immuno-compromised; and their organs including their lungs are often underdeveloped. As a result, they usually have to spend the beginning days to months of their lives in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Here, they are hooked up to wires that monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygenation levels. They also have IVs that help to deliver medication and fluids throughout their tiny bodies. One can imagine that being in a new strange place, in the absence of their mother’s womb or her warm and loving caress, and hooked up with wires to machines, can induce a lot of stress. Premature babies often cry and tug on the wires and IVs that are trying to help them in their early days of development.
Heather Chow has fantasized about becoming a pediatrician ever since she was in kindergarten. Her interest in caring for children stemmed early on from taking care of her two younger siblings, being a mentor and coach for youth basketball teams, as well as tutoring and babysitting. Currently a third-year medical student at Touro University in Nevada, Heather is pursuing her dream. But for Heather, delayed gratification as she works her way through med school, is being able to help kids and improve their quality of life now.
Early in 2017, Heather heard about Octopus for a Preemie on the radio and fell in love with the idea. Doctors in Denmark had noticed that babies who cuddled with crocheted octopus had improved breathing, a more regular heartbeat, and better oxygenation levels. Then Octopus for a Preemie brought a similar octopus project to the United States.
Heather pitched the idea of doing something similar with stuffed animals to her cousin Michelle, whose brother just had a premature baby. Helping preemies was near to her heart. With “MamaMimicry,” she realized she does not have to wait until she is a full-fledged pediatrician to contribute to making a positive impact on children’s health. She can start today, by creating products that mimic what these babies are lacking by being separated from their mothers embrace for days or weeks.
Heather’s project wants to continue the movement of bringing more funny-appendaged friends to more premature babies in need by creating jellyfish stuffed animals with long tentacles that mimic the mothers umbilical cord made from materials that would be suitable for a hospital NICU. With MamaMimicry Heather hopes to extend the love to as many babies in NICUs as possible.
Happy and healthy kids have a better chance at becoming happy and healthy adults. Why not start from day one? If you know of any NICU willing to pilot the MamaMimicry project or have access to manufacturers willing to help make products then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.