It’s estimated that each year 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. And for the parents of those children, it’s only the beginning of a grief journey that lasts a lifetime.
But a new technology, the Cuddle Cot, allows families a few more days with their baby. For a grieving parent, those few extra days mean a world of difference.
Developed by Flexmort, the Cuddle Cot quickly received international recognition. The U.S. first adopted the cot in 2013. Since then, more and more hospitals are adopting the Cuddle Cot across the U.S. In fact, hospitals across the country are receiving Cuddle Cot donations. These donations are to raise awareness for pregnancy and infancy loss. For example, in 2015 the Mayor of Columbus, Ohio donated several Cuddle Cots to central Ohio hospitals in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
What Is the Cuddle Cot?
In the case of stillbirth, a family doesn’t have much time to spend with their baby. The limited amount of time with the baby is only a reminder to the parents of what they lost. The Cuddle Cot aims to change that. The Cuddle Cot delays the stillborn baby’s body from deteriorating. It’s a cobalt blue box that resembles a child’s toy chest. Inside the cot are a cooling unit and a book on child loss for the parents.
Flexmort’s website says that it works by “circulating cold water to a small flexible cold pad which is placed under the baby. The cold pad reduces the infant’s core body temperature through direct contact… The system allows the baby to be cooled in the maternity department, hospice and also allows the baby to be taken home by parents. The Cuddle Cot gives parents choices and options during a very difficult time.”
Why It Matters
With a Cuddle Cot, parents have more time to create memories and mementos. They can dress their child, take photos, and hold them. It allows parents to express their love in tangible ways, easing their emotional suffering.
Studies show these extra moments help in the bereavement process. Developmental psychologist Deborah Davis wrote in an article for Psychology Today that “After childbirth, parents are psychologically and biologically primed to bond with and nurture their newborn. Even after a death, parents wanting to be with their baby is a natural expression of their postpartum drives and parental devotion.”
Other Resources for Parents of Stillborn Babies
Losing a child is an unimaginable experience. But it’s a reality for many parents. Here are some more resources to help grieving parents in your community:
- Start an Angel Gown Movement in your community. The Angel Gown movement collects donated wedding dresses to repurpose as burial gowns for newborns and young children.
- Gift bereaved parents a book on child loss. Here’s a list of 7 books to help walk parents through the loss of a baby.
- Bereaved Parents Awareness Month takes place every July. Your funeral home can host an educational event on grief and child loss, or run a social media campaign to promote awareness. Additionally, your funeral home could launch a fundraiser to buy a Cuddle Cot for a local hospital.