Bonding Hearts- Love in a NICU

Bonding Hearts- Love in a NICU
By C Haupt
Created: 27 June, 2020

Bonding Hearts

Leaving my child behind in NICU was so heart wrenching. Yes, I knew that in my head that my baby was in the safest place for him but I remember still feeling lost. I remember sitting in my kitchen, alone, with a sore heart because I could not feel him in my womb or hold him in my arms. My only way of connecting with him was by expressing breast milk. I used to call my milk, my love letters, and by knowing that I was sending him love letters it helped me a little. One of the hardest parts of being a NICU mom is feeling alone, not always understanding what is happening in the NICU and not really having anyone to talk to about how you are feeling.

In the last little while, I have had the privilege of connecting with two amazing NICU moms, Nicolle Grosskopf and Sumaiyah Ahmend.  Nicolle is the co-ordinator of Little Little NICU support whats app group. Nicolle’s experience as a NICU mom has helped her create the Little Little brand for NICU babies and her support group. What I love about this support group is that you can be a NICU mom of a newborn or a 12-year-old, it does not matter. What matters is that your experience is heard, and you are supported. The mothers on the group listen, give advice, and listen some more. I wish that had had this type of support 10 years ago when my first NICU baby was born and then again when my daughter was born. There is so much strength in women telling their stories and listening to each other, we learn and we grow, we laugh and we cry together. Support is all bout coming together sharing your experiences, knowledge, and resources so that the next NICU mom can be heard and helped. Sumaiyah Ahmed is NICU mum, of a 28 weeker. She co-ordinates the Instagram page Preemie Mums SA which is aimed at raising awareness around prematurity and to support preemie parents navigating their way through the NICU journey.

This is why My Breastpump, is so excited about joining up with Nicolle and Sumaiyah on a NICU Bonding Heart project. We will be working together to donate bonding hearts to other NICU mothers. What we love about the bonding hearts is that they are made for parents whose infants are cared for in the NICU. Now more than ever, due to COVID-19 and the restricted time that parents can spend with their baby in NICU, these hearts are a blessing.  The hearts allow the baby to continue bonding with their mom and dad even while the parent is not there. I wish that I had had something like bonding hearts. What an amazing feeling to know that even though you are not with your child, he can still smell you and know you care.

How do they work? After the hearts has been cleaned and ironed, they are placed in a ziplock bag until the mother gets to NICU. Once at the NICU, they are taken out and then the parents wear these hearts next to their skin, absorbing their respective scents. Mothers may choose to wear a heart inside a bra. Before the parents leave the NICU they place the heart with the baby so that he can continue to bond with the mommy or daddy. It is amazing that an infant’s sense of smell is one of the earliest senses that babies develop. Studies have shown newborns can recognize their mother’s natural scent from breathing and swallowing her amniotic fluid, which absorbs odorants from the maternal diet, in utero. These little hearts help to increase the bonding between the child and parents

If you would like to learn more about the Bonding hearts project to donate or to receive a heart please contact Nicolle via Instagram


For more NICU and breastfeeding support please follow Preemie Mums SA Instagram page  @preemiemumssa and For breastfeeding and pumping information follow My Breastpump @My_BreastpumpSA