Comforting Infants with a Little Extra Love

This 18-year-old found a way to give preemies a special hug


Volunteer, Health
Newborn baby with mother

(Natalia Deriabina / Shutterstock)

It is never easy for new parents to find themselves in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), especially during a pandemic. At the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic, when health regulations were extra tight, some parents were only allowed to spend two hours a day with their premature babies.

According to People Magazine, when 18-year-old Bryn Hammock heard that babies were spending so much time alone in the hospital she enlisted the help of her grandmother, a pediatric nurse, to create hand-shaped gloves designed to comfort the preemie babies and make them feel like they were being held in their mother’s arms.

Hammock’s grandmother taught her how to sew the hand-shaped, bead-filled gloves, which are used in some of the hospitals in Atlanta, where Hammock lives. Tiny Hugs, as the project was named, was created to bring these gloves to facilities that didn’t have access to them and needed something that would provide the infants with some extra love and support while they gained the strength and health they needed to be discharged and finally join their parents at home. 

How Tiny Hugs was born
Hammock had been looking for an inspiring project to work on, hoping to be awarded the Girl’s Scout’s Gold Award, the organization's highest honor. She knew that helping NICU patients would be a meaningful choice and could help her win the award.

Before starting Tiny Hugs, Hammock only knew how to sew by hand, reports 11 Alive, an Atlanta video based news channel. Hammock’s resourceful grandmother taught her how to upgrade to using a sewing machine via FaceTime. 

The next step was getting the help of other volunteers, including her mother. Kelley Hammock and 18 others joined the mission. Tiny Hugs made and distributed a total of 140 Tiny Hugs to seven Georgia hospitals, according to WebMD, including the one where Bryn was born and where she briefly was treated at the NICU for a slow heartbeat.

How Tiny Hugs helped their tiny patients
In addition to the love and warmth the weighted gloves provides the preemies with, Hammock explains that it also helps position them, hold their tubes and even helps with their muscular-skeletal development.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about how they’re so little, so helpless and in the hospital where it’s scary to not have a parent with you. I wanted to bring a little relief to those families. One of the most satisfying parts of the project: Hearing how much comfort the babies got from having the mitts to hold onto,” Hammock told WebMD.

Hammock loves receiving messages, pictures and updates from the parents tracking the journey of and progress of the preemies from the NICU into strong, active healthy babies and toddlers. She hopes her efforts on this project will inspire other teens to get involved in their local communities and learn that when they give of themselves they will receive so much in return. 

These Crocheted Octopuses Are Changing the Lives of Preemies
Girl Scout’s Service Project Collected Books to Read to Preemies
Why This Grandpa Spent the Last 12 Years Cuddling Babies