Cedars-Sinai's Tiniest Babies Celebrate Halloween
In an annual Halloween tradition, the tiniest babies in the Cedars-Sinai Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) were able to dress up for Halloween, wearing custom costumes sewn by hospital staff and volunteers.
The costumes were specially designed to fit the babies' tiny sizes, and used Velcro and ties to accomodate medical tubing.
NICU nurse Natalie Ghanimian, RN, says the parents and the nursing team love dressing the babies for the holiday.
"It really normalizes this day for them, because even though they're in the hospital, they know its Halloween and it really makes a great memory for them," Ghanimian said.
The entire Pediatrics team got in the holiday spirit, as well, with healthcare professionals dressed up as a fried egg, banana, waffle, mermaid, chef and princesses.
The infants' costumes this year included Big Bird, Angelina Ballerina and the Lion King. The program, now in its 21st year, was a hit with new mom Jasmin Miller. She gave birth to her daughter, Leighton, exactly one week ago, at under 35 weeks gestation. Miller picked an Angelina Ballerina costume--complete with mouse ears and a pink tutu -- for her baby.
"It makes it feel a little more at home to be able to come here and put her in her first Halloween costume," Miller said. "It's amazing."
Dorothy Williams, a former Cedars-Sinai employee and a one-time NICU mom started the program. She herself sews many of the costumes and, in recent years, she has had her grandchildren help sew as well. At her granddaughter's suggestion, most of the costumes are based on popular childrens' book characters.
"We like to encourage parents to read to their babies," said Williams. "It's so important that parents start reading and talking and singing to their babies, even at this tender age."
This year, the Cedars-Sinai POOCH Program (Pets Offering Ongoing Care and Healing) volunteer dogs also dressed in costume. More than 10 dogs and their handlers paraded through the pediatric unit to the delight of patients and their parents. Patient Ella Robinson,16, enjoyed petting the pooches and feeding them treats.
"It makes me happy, takes my mind off things too," said Robinson.