Mommy & Me Developmental Heart Project

Hello Sewing Family!

Did you know that April is Occupational Therapy Month? This year also marks the  Centennial Year of this very  wonderful and impactful profession.

In addition to sharing some fun facts about my soon to be new profession, I come to you requesting your assistance in helping me celebrate by participating in the Mommy & Me Developmental Heart Project. Click here for instructions and heart pattern.

When many people think of Occupational Therapy, they think of the profession in terms of helping an older person be able to perform tasks that are meaningful to their ability to remain functional and independent. But did you know that Occupational Therapists also work with children, including infants?   Yes, infants, including those born prematurely and cared for in the NICU.

Due to the fragility of the premature infant’s neurosensory systems, mother-infant bonding in the form of skin-to-skin contact can either be prolonged or very limited due to the urgent  need to stabilize the infant physiologically.  Skin to skin contact has been linked hormonally to guide healthy feeding habits to include the infant’s ability to locate, latch on and nurse from the mother successfully. The nursing mother is then able to provide the necessary nutrients that can facilitate optimal development as well as decrease the risk of developmental delays.

In an effort to provide a substitution method of “skin to skin contact” as well as to provide a means in which the mother can still feel emotionally connected to her child, each mother will be given a “developmental heart” to be worn against her skin that will then be placed with the baby in the isolette or crib hat he and/or she will be able to have the scent of their mother even in her absence. Each heart will be accompanied by poem as a completed gift set to the mom.

While the Mommy & Me Developmental Heart Project will be an ongoing service, the goal for Occupational Month is to collect 500 hearts by the end of April. The hearts will be donated to the NICU Program of  the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.

Will you join me in meeting this goal?

Please send completed hearts to:
The Mommy & Me Developmental Heart Project
PO Box 1171
Stafford, VA 22555

The concept of the “developmental heart” was created as program under the Blank Children’s NICU Center in Des Moines, IA. The pattern for the heart is credited to Linda Aker of the Preemie Project who has granted permission to use and reproduce the pattern in support of The Mommy & Me Developmental Heart Project of Stafford County for expanding this effort into the Northern VA and connecting NICU babies with their families.