Creating cuddle hearts for NICU

Selwyn Libraries are thrilled to be working with Lisa from Cuddle Hearts to provide a drop-off point for hand made cuddle hearts.

Cuddle hearts are small cotton fabric hearts shared between mothers and babies and proven to have benefits for both. Babies’ senses develop in the womb and by the time they’re born, not only do they recognise their mother’s voice, but they can identify her scent. The sound of their mother and her smell are comforting and familiar to newborns and in return, mothers have a physical and hormonal reaction to the scent and sound of their baby.

Download the pattern
[PDF, 306 KB]

How do cuddle hearts work?

NICU babies in incubators often can’t be held or breast-fed, missing out on important physical contact and bonding with their mother, father and whānau. The cuddle hearts allow mums and their babies to still be together when physically separated.

  • Mum places one clean fabric heart inside her bra to absorb her unique scent
  • A clean fabric heart is placed underneath the baby inside their incubator or crib to absorb baby’s scent
  • After a period of time, Mum and baby exchange their newly scented hearts, leaving their scent with each other.

Fathers, partners and whānau may also have the opportunity to share the cuddle heart experience with the new baby; improving engagement and connection and helping the whānau navigate what can be a stressful time for all.

Lisa Paget Benefits of the cuddle hearts include:

  • Improved bonding and attachment between mother, baby and whānau
  • Calming effects for both mother and baby
  • Improved infant brain development
  • Better milk production for mother
  • Reduced parental anxiety

Selwyn Libraries are proud to be able to offer a place to drop off your cuddle hearts

The pick-up and drop-off locations are:

  • Leeston Library – 19 Messines Street, Leeston
  • Lincoln Library – 22 Gerald Street, Lincoln
  • Te Ara Ātea. – 56 Tennyson Street, Rolleston
  • Darfield Library – 1 South Terrace, Darfield

Please only use 100 percent cotton or 100 percent cotton winceyette fabric for the hearts.

If you don’t have fabric at hand, you can collect a copy of the pattern and some material from one of the libraries above.

Note: there will be limited pick-up packs available.

Please do not take your donated cuddle hearts to the hospital or NICU. Lisa and her helpers will sanitise, iron and hygienically seal the hearts for delivery to NICU.

Baby Lottie