Cloth hearts help mothers bond with infants in neonatal intensive care unit via scent

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Having a newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit can be a very difficult experience for a new mother. Now, there’s a new way to make things just a little bit easier for mothers and newborns: cloth hearts that allow mothers and their children to bond via scent, even when they can’t yet be together.

“He’s all alone in the room, and mom’s not there,” Fernanda Franco, a new mother whose child spent time in the NICU told Fox 35 Orlando.

The cloth hearts are handmade by hospital volunteers. One is for the baby, and one is for the mother. The scent of each is rubbed onto the heart and then swapped. Using smell, the pair can begin to bond.

A trip to the NICU isn’t unusual: 78 out of every 1000 newborns are admitted to the NICU… that’s close to 1 in 10. But still, it can be a frightening and confusing time for a new mother who just wants to be with her child. These simple cloth hearts help make things just a little more comfortable. 

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