You’ll love this amazing way to help preemies with crochet: octopuses for preemies
When I first saw a photo of crocheted octopuses for preemies, I found it irresistible. I mean, take a look at that sweet, sleeping preemie cuddled up next to an octopus above. So precious, right?
Yet I wondered: although yarncrafted octopuses are absolutely adorable, are they honestly a good idea for preemies?
I really wanted a definitive answer before I could even think about recommending this project.
Researching Octopuses for Preemies
I entered “do octopuses really help preemies” into a search engine and began to read.
The first article I read came from a website called Babble. This article offered quotes from a mother of twin preemie girls. She said she could tell how much the crocheted octopuses she had received calmed her daughters.
The next article I read came from the website Always Ladies. It offered information about the research into benefits benefits of crocheted octopuses for preemies from Denmark.
To those that were given the octopuses improved breathing and cardiac patterns were observed and, as a result, increased levels of oxygen in their blood. They also found that babies cuddling an octopus were less likely to try to pull out their monitors and tubes.”
Finally, there’s this article from Essential Baby in Australia. Although it also repeats much of the same information, I loved seeing another preemie with his little octopus!
Why Are Octopuses for Preemies Beneficial?
After reading these articles, I feel pretty confident that these little crocheted octopuses do help preemies. That supposes that crocheted octopuses follow the proper guidelines.
Obviously, a too-large octopus would be a problem, as would be too-thick tentacles.
One common thread ran throughout the articles I read: the reason these loveys are beneficial to preemies. Researchers theorize that the tentacles of an octopus resemble the umbilical cord babies grip in utero.
Being able to grip umbilical cord-like tentacles appears to produce a calming effect in preemies.
Ready to Create OCTOPUSES for Preemies?
One of the wonderful qualities of most any preemie knitting or crochet project is that you can create them so quickly. Octopuses are no exception!
On the Danish Octo Project site, you can download a PDF for easy access wherever you are. On the other hand, on the My Nomad Project site, you can find a fantastic list of groups all over the world where you can submit your finished octopus!
These groups carefully inspect donated octopuses to ensure that they are safe for preemies. They then submit the octopuses to hospitals in need. Doing this helps ensure that hospitals have just one person to deal with. It also ensures that hospitals receive only safe octopuses.
More Information from Octopus for a Preemie – US
I exchanged e-mails with the moderator Jessica Holmes of the Octopus for a Preemie – US group to get more information. Here’s what Jessica told me:
There are specific guidelines. The yarn must be 100% cotton, and the filling must be a hypoallergenic fiber-fill that can be washed at high temperatures. (Poly-fill works great.)
We have a list of approved yarns. But that list is continually growing as people across the country test yarns from their local shops to see how they hold up to the standards.
We do request that the pattern listed in our files is followed, but some deviation is accepted. We have fairly strict guidelines, regarding size and stitch size. The stitches must be very tight so no fiber-fill can escape and no tiny fingers can get stuck inside. The sizing guidelines are listed on the pattern as well.
The photo with multiple octopuses is from Kendra Thomas and the one with the baby is from crocheter Ashley Gee. The mom is Lindsey Davis and the baby is Lilah Schlappi. Baby is 26 weeks.
**Please note: Many knitters (including me!) have attempted to create a knitted octopus that meets the exacting standards of Octopus for a Preemie. For some reason, knitting just doesn’t seem to produce a tight enough fabric.
So knitters, I’m so sorry, but this project will likely remain crochet-only. Perhaps this project will be the motivation you need to perfect your crochet skills!
Knitters, you can still knit for preemies! Check here for an assortment of ways you can knit to benefit preemies.
Two things I love about this project are that it helps to save the lives of tiny babies, and it’s available all over the world. So if you’re ready to help preemies, wherever you are, why not consider making octopuses for preemies?