‘Cuddle pockets’ designed to comfort bereaved parents

The knitted pouches enable London Ambulance Service staff to convey babies born too soon in a dignified way

credit London Ambulance Service
credit London Ambulance Service

Handmade ‘cuddle pockets’ designed to help parents cope with the trauma of losing a baby have been rolled out across London Ambulance Service.

The knitted pouches, created by charity Blue Lights Babies, will enable staff to convey babies born too soon in a dignified way and allow bereaved families to hold their baby after birth and in the ambulance.

Advanced paramedic Nicola Frayne worked alongside lead midwife Camella Main to launch the pockets – drawing on her own experience of baby loss to drive the project forward.

Nicola said: “I have a personal experience of losing a baby and I know a lot of others do too.

“At the time of my loss, I really struggled going from paramedic to patient. The change left me feeling incredibly vulnerable and I often felt very alone during the experience and as I tried to come to terms with the loss.

“The moment I saw the pockets I really understood the impact they could have. I knew from a patient’s perspective the difference they would make.”

The cuddle pockets will now be included in the maternity packs carried in every ambulance across the Service.

In the last year London Ambulance Service clinicians attended 1,100 patients experiencing miscarriage or suspected miscarriage.

Camella said: “As a midwife, supporting bereaved parents is a core aspect of our role. Listening to what they need during this really difficult time is essential.

“My colleagues and I have seen for ourselves that giving parents time to hold their babies born too soon can be a crucial step in their recovery.”

As well as introducing the cuddle pockets, London Ambulance Service has trained staff in how to support families. The training has been co-designed with parents that have experienced baby loss to support appropriate communication and memory-making.

Camella said “I’m really pleased London Ambulance Service is helping to give parents the dignity they rightly deserve and show empathy in these truly horrific moments they experience in the wake of baby loss.”

Sadly Nicola knows only too well the impact when this goes wrong.

She said: “I visited several GPs in the months following my own loss and was often asked to repeat my experience and was even asked to present proof of my miscarriage.

“This increased my fear and anxiety about returning to work. But I’m using my experiences to try to help others when they need it most.”

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