Crocheted octopuses can help stop premature babies removing life-saving tubes


Goodwood resident Zaahira Omar said she had heard how crocheted octopuses could help premature babies who still wanted to cling to the umbilical cords. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency.
Cape Town – Goodwood resident Zaahira Omar wants to share her passion for crochet with others, while helping premature babies adjust to life outside the womb.

Omar on Tuesday donated 20 crocheted octopuses to Tygerberg Hospital’s maternity ward.

She said she had heard how this could help premature babies who still wanted to cling to the umbilical cords.

“It’s just a random act of kindness, doing something for someone you may never know,” she said.

Omar said she hoped to assist more hospitals. She can only crochet two octopuses a day, though. And it seemed crochet was not popular among her generation.

“It’s a lost skill and there’s a stigma that it’s something you do when you’re old. But it’s not just for old people and you can make really funky things,” said Omar.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Fatima Chohan was at Tygerberg Hospital on Tuesday to ensure newborn babies were registered and issued with birth certificates.

Chohan said: “Babies hold on to the tentacles of the octopus. There are anecdotes that babies are more secure and do much better.”

She said it was the “tactile feeling” of holding on to the handmade octopus that comforted the newborns. Local groups are also assisting premature babies with crocheted octopuses.

Octopus for a Preemie SA is a network that shares information about these efforts on its Facebook page.

It states: “The tentacles are thought to mimic the feel of an umbilical cord, and babies who cuddle an octo(pus) are less likely to pull out their monitors and tubes. Hospitals noted an increase in the overall health of their preemies (premature babies) and volunteers around the world began flooding them with donations.”


[email protected]

Cape Argus

Original Story by


Posts Carousel

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos