Comfort for the 88,000 premature babies born each year
Coming into the world after spending nine months in a warm, dark, secure womb is a huge change for a baby. For the 88,000 premature babies born annually, who spend their first days in an incubator rather than skin-to-skin with their mother, it can be ‘very stressful’ according to Sister Claire Ellerby, who works in the Special Care Baby Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. To help provide a connection between these babies and their families, Claire and her team explored the powerful effect of smell, using a baby comforter called Cuski Miniboo. It’s an ongoing, two-way process, Cuski founder Suzy Cannizzo explains: ‘The mother keeps one Miniboo on her person to pick up all those mummy smells and then puts it next to the baby in the incubator, swapping it for the second Miniboo which has spent time with the baby already.’
‘This has a very soothing and comforting effect on babies,’ says Claire. ‘Mums have found it also helps with their milk supply when breastfeeding or expressing at home.’
Award-winning, NHS-approved Cuski Miniboos (£12.99) are made from washable bamboo rayon fibre with antibacterial properties. After three months, babies graduate to full-size Cuskiboos (£16.99). A friend’s baby grandson in Australia adored his Cuskiboo so much, we had to send them several more in case one got lost.
Cuski has recently taken premature baby care to another level with Claire’s Nest (£39.99), a small carrycot with wide straps that goes inside an incubator. ‘It has safe, soft boundaries to keep the baby stable and provide a secure, cuddled environment to sleep and grow in,’ explains Claire, who helped design the nest – thus the name. Made from ultra-soft and washable combed cotton, it comes in four sizes up to 50cm long (inside). All items are available from www.cuskishop.co.uk.
FIND THE WORDS
Mental health charity Mind has launched ‘Find The Words’ – a new campaign to help people talk to their GP s about mental health concerns. One in four of us suffers from some degree of psychological concern and a third of all GP appointments are related to such issues. But it can be hard to have that first conversation. Mind offers a guide to help you plan what to say and explain your feelings, and outlines the support you can expect at primary care level (www.mind.org.uk/findthewords).
Marigold, the household gloves company, has come to the rescue of people with an allergy to latex, which affects six per cent of the population. Latex- and powder-free Marigold Extra Safe Disposable Gloves (from £4.99 for 20 pairs at www.ocado.com) are perfect if – like Nigella – you prefer to wear gloves for cooking. Marigold Extra Safe protect your hands from smells, stains and sensitivity-provoking factors, without releasing any contaminants into food.
Every month, many women take it for granted that they may suffer premenstrual symptoms including anxiety, mild to moderate depression and low energy. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends Viridian Nutrition Magnesium B6 & Saffron supplement/£21.85 for 60 capsules at www.victoriahealth.com) containing vitamin B6 for nervous-system function, muscle-relaxing magnesium, plus saffron in a clinically studied dose that may help to lift anxiety. ‘Saffron extract is an alternative to St John’s wort,’ he says.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: www.hochanda.com
When an active young friend, Sophie, tore a knee ligament and ended up chair-bound, I sent her some art and craft supplies = (jewellery, a colouring book and a cushion kit) from this online and TV shopping channel. ‘I really like the website, which provides lots of ideas, and the crafts have helped so much – especially when my knee was too painful for me to do much else,’ says Sophie. Of course, you don’t have to be ill to do crafts – many of us love making things for pleasure.