Parents of premature babies have had a special day in one hospital’s Intensive Care Unit after their babies were dressed up with handmade superhero costumes.
The 15 babies are being cared for at the Clinic Hospital of Barcelona, in the eastern Spanish province of Catalonia, and they celebrated Carnival weekend with amazing handmade superhero and animal costumes that surprised their parents.
Erika Sanchez, 44, coordinator of the Intensive Care Unit, told Metropolitan Press that all the parents burst into tears when the nurses brought the babies in with the superhero costumes, including Superman, Captain America and Batman, as well as various cute animals.
Sanchez explained: “We wanted it to be a special day among all the sadness we are living.” She was referring to the coronavirus pandemic that has rocked the country since last year.
She said: “The families did not expect that as they did not think it was already Carnival, and it was a very touching moment, as staying here is a very monotonous situation, all the days are the same, yet that day was different!”
The idea of dressing up the babies as superheroes and animals came about two years ago, in 2019, when a nurse who loved sewing decided to do something different.
Since then, the Carnival weekend has turned into something of a tradition. This year, the nurses had to use the costumes they used last year, as it is currently banned to bring outside items into the hospital, but it was worth it.
Sanchez said: “The smallest babies being cared for there were born at only 26 weeks of the pregnancy and weigh around 500 to 600 grammes (1.1 to 1.3 lbs), as they were twin girls, but now with the costumes they weigh more, around 1 kilogramme (2.2 lbs).”
Premature babies with extreme health conditions “need assisted ventilation and they stay in an incubator to give them heat.”
However, the hospital encourages as much skin to skin contact between parents and their babies as possible.
Sanchez explained that the parents give them heat and comfort, as well as stability and it helps to create a link between the babies and the parents. It also helps with the production of breastfeeding milk.
The initiative has also created a link between the hospital and the babies being looked after there. In fact, Sanchez explained that the first babies with superhero and animal costumes in 2019 still wear similar costumes now, as the parents tend to send the nurses and the hospital team pictures of them every year at Carnival time, with the same costume.
Sanchez said: “It is a very beautiful initiative by the families.”