Cyndi Fontaine, owner of In the Loop in Silsbee, crochets octopi for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She along with a group of volunteers get together to create these stuffed octopi.
Fontaine has family members who were born premature and had to spend time in the NICU.
She found this study by doctors in Denmark that suggest a stuffed octopus will help lower a preemies heart rate and relax their breathing. This study is fitting for her store that has octopi drawn on it and is the theme for 'In the Loop.'
Mindy Hammermeister is a charge nurse in the NICU at Baptist Hospital and has been working with preemies for the past four years. She has seen a positive effect these octopi have been on the babies.
"A lot of these tiny babies come out and have really high heart rates. And so it kind of calms them down and creates a level of comfort for them."
Hammermeister says the octopi is also a comfort to the parents as well.
"They're not just seeing all these tubes and wires hanging off their babies. They have a little animal per say in there with them. So it's kind of like their first stuffed animal that they get."
Right now the octopi are being delivered to Baptist Hospital and CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Saint Elizabeth. Once they are inside, the hospital sterilizes them before they give them to the babies. Each baby gets their own octopus, which will also go home with them. The octopi go inside with the baby and are monitored. If there is a time a nurse or mother is not inside with the baby, the octopus is removed and places away from the child, for safety purposes.
It takes about three hours or so to complete an octopus. Fontaine has kits inside her shop for those wanting to get involved.
For Fontaine this is such a rewarding process.
"I'm reminded of that Mother Teresa quote about 'do small things with great love.' And so if we can help these babies and you know sooth them and help them relax its just worth it all."
Fontaine also has classes you can join in on to crochet an Octopus or to learn how to Crochet.
Here is a link to the Facebook page for In the Loop, where you can look at when classes start and more information on other classes.
You can also call them at (409) 373-2144
In the Loop is located at
130 E. Ave. H
Silsbee, Tx 77656