Idaho mom creates stuffed animal to comfort babies in the hospital
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Life as a mom can be messy, unpredictable, and even scary. But, you don’t have to tell Michelle Armstrong that.
She’s lived it.
Her youngest son, Finn, was born eight weeks early.
“He was in the NICU at Kootenai Hospital for about 57 days,” Armstrong said.
Sometimes, neither she nor her husband could hold their baby boy.
“Sometimes you’d go and just sit by their incubator and sing to him and read to him and just try to be there,” Armstrong said.
But when she couldn’t be there, she still wanted a way for Finn to know she was with him. She figured other parents in the same situation probably had that wish, too. So, she created Finn the Panda.
“I wanted to design something that they could hear your voice and smell you and have that comfort and bonding, even when you can’t be there every minute,” Armstrong said.
This mom knows what it’s like when your baby is sick. Her son spent more than a month in the NICU when he was born. When she couldn’t hold him, she wished there was some way he could know she was there #KXLY pic.twitter.com/7rJmsEsn5W
— Ariana Lake (@arianaKXLY) March 4, 2019
The stuffed panda has a removable scent patch a parent can wear, then reattach to the bear.
Finn the Panda is designed for babies at the hospital. Each one is made with a special kind of cashmere that is designed to prevent the spread of germs.
There is also a recording device inside the stuffed animal. You can sing your baby a song or leave a sweet message to play over and over.
“Their sound, their touch, their smell does something for their child and that’s really what Finn the Panda is for, to bring comfort and bonding to the baby, but also for the parents to know that they are a huge part of that healing process,” Armstrong said.
As her own sons have grown, Armstrong realized being close to them can still happen, even when they’re apart.
She hopes other parents can feel that way, too, with help from Finn the Panda.
Each stuffed animal costs $79.95, which includes free shipping. You can also pay for a bear and have it sent to a local hospital for any family who may need it.
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