Mum's simple invention is changing lives of NICU babies
Learn how "The Zaky" is bringing mummies and their NICU babies closer than ever thanks to one mum's genius invention!
Yamile Jackson is no stranger to the worry and fear that comes with seeing your child be admitted to the NICU. Back in 2001, Jackson went into premature labor due to severe preeclampsia. Her son, Zachary, was born 12 weeks early; he weighed only two pounds. His condition left doctors no choice but to admit him to the NICU. There, he spent the next 155 days fighting for his life. Through it all, Jackson spent hours each day with her son, though she recalls the pain she felt when she had to leave him at night.
Jackson, along with her PhDs in both ergonomics and human factors engineering, used that pain as motivation to make a difference for her son. She invented a bean-filled gardening glove that she tucked against her son every night. With it, she could cuddle the glove during the day so it would emanate her scent. She would then leave the warm, cozy glove (that was imbued with her smell)with her son at night in order to form strengthen the bond even without her being there.
It was during Zachary’s extended stay in the NICU that Jackson decided she wanted to help other preemies and mummies in similar situations. In fact, after Zachary was released from the NICU, Jackson received a phone call from one of the nurses of the NICU. Allegedly, the nurse called Jackson and asked,”You know those little gloves that you made for Zack? Can you make them for the rest of the unit?”
Realizing the significance and importance of her homemade invention, Jackson gladly accepted the challenge of providing other mothers with a similar glove. Jackson made 100 gloves for the hospital and set out to do research to see how the gloves could best help preemies, eventually forming the company Nurtured by Design. She was even awarded a grant from Oprah to help further develop her product and research!
Using her son as inspiration, Jackson dubbed the simple but life changing invention “The Zaky”.
In 2011, an independent clinical research project by Georgia College examined 28-34 week preemies, some who had nothing with them in their isolettes, some who had Zakys, and some who had Zakys that had been scented by mum. The babies who had an unscented Zaky tucked around them had about a third less As and Bs breathing episodes than the babies who had nothing with them. The babies who had a Zaky that had been scented by mum had no breathing episodes at all. If only we had a Zaky when my kids were in the NICU, maybe we wouldn’t have had so many calls alerting us to breathing episodes.
If your hospital doesn’t offer Zaky’s to your preemie, Jackson’s company Nurtured by Design, will provide your hospital with one–all you have to do is reach out and get in contact with them.
Learn more about “The Zaky” through this informative video about the miracle product! Visit page two to view the video!
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