After meeting so many mothers talking about their experiences with their babies going into the neonatal intensive care unit, Cheeky Baby owner Mary Andersen decided to figure out a way to show support to the families.

The end result came out of a tiny Canadian-based company called Baby Octopi that crochets little tentacled sea creatures for infants. When they have them in the NICU, this helps prevent them from pulling on any tubes or wires that are attached to them.

“The tentacles replicate the feeling of an umbilical cord, which babies hold onto in the womb,” Andersen said. “This is a little distraction from the tubes and then they get to take it home with them.”

Right now, if you go to Cheeky Baby and buy an octopus, you can choose one to donate to the Floyd Medical Center NICU. So far, they’ve sent over several octopi, but hope to send more over the next few weeks.

“Our goal is to be able to expand this out to either Erlanger (Hospital) in Chattanooga or other children’s hospitals in Atlanta,” Andersen said. “I think it’s important to be a part of the community and our store is centered around babies so I think it’s a good way to connect with the little ones.”

Andersen said they have gotten great feedback from FMC and the rest of the community for the donations.

Cheeky Baby opened in the 300 block of Broad Street earlier this year and offers a variety of baby clothing, furniture and other products.

In October, they will be hosting a Halloween story time event in the back of the store. They’ll have 10 kids at a time during the event to encourage social distancing. On Veterans Day in November, the store will be having a giveaway for military families.

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