NHS charity funds extra special hugs for premature babies in Rotherham Hospital

Premature babies at Rotherham Hospital have been given a comforting hug, with special weighted gloves which help to mimic the sensation of touch whilst they are being cared for in an incubator.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 12:19 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 4:29 pm

The Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity has funded four pairs of Zacy Hugs – weighted gloves which help babies sleep soundly, while also supporting their postures, optimising musculoskeletal development.

Baby Imogen Coleman was one of the first to try out SCBU’s new Zacy Hug after she was born five weeks early on 1 May, weighing just 3lbs 6oz.

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Baby Imogen Coleman was one of the first to try out SCBU’s new Zacy Hug after she was born five weeks early on 1 May, weighing just 3lbs 6oz.

Imogen’s mum Toni McLaughlin, 33, of Brinsworth, said: “Imogen has used the Zacy Hug from day one and it helps her to feel settled and happy. She goes from being really fidgety to snuggly and content.

“She loves it and the more I use it, the more it smells of me.

“I want to be here for her as much as possible, but on the occasions I’m not, it’s lovely to know that she has it and is comforted.

“It means I can leave a little piece of me with her. It’s such a great thing for the charity to fund.”

Baby Teddy Walker was also one of the first babies to try out the Zacy Hug after he was born prematurely at 29 weeks and four days on 24 January 2022.

The tiny tot, a little brother for George, four, and five-year-old Charlie, is just 4lb and 3oz and is receiving special care to help improve his feeding and breathing.

Ted’s mum, Emily Walker, 32, of South Anston, said: “I love the Zacy Hug because it helps Teddy to feel comforted and safe, like he is being held.

“It’s a great way to spend the funds raised for the charity because they help the baby and the parents too. Leaving him behind when I go home to look after my other two boys is heart-wrenching but the Zacy Hug helps us to feel like we’re leaving a part of ourselves behind with him on the ward. I hope that Teddy will be one of the first of many babies to use them in future.”

Parents can place the glove on their chest or neck for an hour to transfer their unique scent before it is placed in the incubator or cot.

The anti-allergenic glove and filling is specially adapted for a hospital environment and washed before being passed onto the next family.

Alison Cowie,head of nursing children’s services, family health division, said: “We know that for parents of a premature or poorly newborn, leaving them in hospital even for short periods of time can be heart-breaking.

"The Zacy Hugs are a great way for parents to maintain that connection with their precious baby while we care for them.“We’re absolutely delighted the charity has funded the Zacy Hugs as they are a wonderful resource for babies during the first few hours and days of their lives.

"They help our most vulnerable patients to feel comforted and encourage them to sleep, which is essential for their delicate brains and bones to develop. It’s another way for us to enhance the care we provide to families and to bring them together when it really matters the most.”

You can support the charity’s activities by donating via https://www.justgiving.com/rhcgc