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The Story...

Posted by Simon Chung on

It all started in France...

The Cocoonababy® nest is the result of several years’ attentive observation in a medical environment, in particular on the neonatal ward in the Hôpital Nord in Marseilles, France. Over a period of 10 years, the babies born prematurely were ‘installed in nests made to measure’, designed in a way so as to recreate the same feeling they had in their mother’s womb. However, these nests made individually by staff members, were not entirely stable and were of course difficult to use. No product actually existed which was easy to use both in hospital and in the home. By observing the needs of the babies she was treating, Danielle Salducci, a paediatric physiotherapist, started to design and make ‘nests’ which would enable newborns to make movements similar to those made inside their mother’s womb. The design was based on her experience as a member of the team headed by Dr Christian Palix (head of the neonatal department in the Hôpital Nord). He explains that: ‘the initial stage was to medically research and to determine a posture for the premature baby which could be described as a “follow-up womb”. The parameters were based on the vital functions (heart, oxygenation, and respiration), the sleep patterns and the level of the influence of stress on various pathologies. The second stage was the postural research. The “follow-up womb” posture is determined by the support given, the way the baby is held tightly or “contained” and the curled up posture of the child’s body.’

Danielle Salducci and the team soon realised that the benefits reaped by the premature babies would also apply to full-term babies. After several more years of research and a partnership with RED CASTLE, a company specialising in childcare products, these nests are now available on a wide scale.

In Cocoonababy®, a nest which is both firm and soft, baby always lies on his back – as recommended by the medical profession – but at the same time he feels reassured as he is held in a semi-foetal position with his shoulders and spine slightly curved. He suffers less from gastric reflux and is able to move his arms and head as he did in his mother’s womb. This ease of movement reduces, amongst other things, the risk of plagiocephaly (baby getting a flattened head). As Danielle Salducci, paediatric physiotherapist notes, ‘in this nest the child cannot put himself into a hyper-extended posture and will thus benefit from a better quality of neuromotric development.’

With his head tilted slightly forwards he can make easy eye contact with his mother and father as soon as they bend towards him, facilitating the relationship between child and parent. With his arms in front of him and no longer in the batrachian or “3 branch candlestick” position described earlier, his hands rapidly find his face. This in turn leads to a better ability to touch, feel and grasp. Less stressed by his new environment, calmed by the fact he can touch his face and aware of the limits of his own body, baby feels comforted and falls asleep more easily.

It is this feeling of ‘well-being’ which the Cocoonababy® nest reproduces today for the benefit of all newborns, be it on the neonatal or paediatric wards, at the maternity clinic or in the home.

Babies have the same feeling they had in their mother’s womb...

Until now, there has been no way to simulate the feeling a newborn experiences in his mother’s womb.
Before birth, he was tightly contained in an aquatic environment but still able to enjoy a certain freedom of movement.Curled up in the well-known foetal position he was able to touch his face or suck his thumb. At birth, however, he is thrust into a vast ‘aerial’ environment where he can no longer do so.

Following birth, the first few months act as a transitory period during which the baby adjusts from the aquatic to the aerial environment. As a result, the way in which he is positioned throughout this time is very important; his posture dictates the level of his well-being and how his motricity will evolve. If the newborn lies flat on his back on a very firm mattress, without the safe and secure feeling he had in the womb, he could feel lost and as if he were falling into space. This posture could also be the start of various physical ailments, for example, the immaturity of the cardia during the first year of a child’s life can lead to problems of gastric reflux which can in turn create problems in the respiratory or auditory sphere.
In most of these cases, if the child’s body is repositioned in the curved foetal posture, the problems disappear and medication can be avoided.

Lying on a firm mattress, in a batrachian posture with his arms folded back and upwards on either side of his body (i.e. a “3 branch candlestick” posture), baby either stares at the ceiling or turns his head inevitably to the same side – the one he adopted in his mother’s womb. Ultimately this can result in a non-symmetrical lateralization, potential delay in the child’s psychomotor development and an increase in the risk of plagiocephaly (a flattened head) observed amongst a growing number of young children today.
Without a doubt, any of these problems has an effect on the child’s well-being – and that of his parents! Now used in hospitals and clinics....

While respecting the medical recommendation to keep a newborn baby lying on his back with nothing close to his face, the Cocoonababy® nest solves the problems which have arisen as a result of this posture. An ergonomic nest designed to bring comfort and awareness to newborns, the Cocoonababy® is already in use on neonatal wards in hospitals and clinics across France. For example, the Sainte Monique maternity unit of the St Joseph hospital in Marseilles is entirely equipped with Cocoonababy® nests.


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