The cover you see on this little one decorated with lions, tigers, and bears isn’t just a baby blanket.
It weighs one pound, proven to soothe babies going through withdrawal from opioids, caffeine, nicotine, and other substances.
“That little bit of extra weight when you throw it on top of them helps to calm them and release things like melatonin and serotonin, which are things that can help calm them.”
That’s what Katie Lynch, a Johnstown native and second-year medical student, said about the research proven to give more babies a “silent night.”
Katie recently started a charitable fund called Worth the Weight through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies along with Co-Founder Marisa Peruso.
The initiative works to donate weighted blankets to local hospitals.
“There were a couple of moving parts. I’ve always really enjoyed babies, and my mom has been a NICU nurse for many years,” Katie said.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is caused when a baby withdraws from the drugs they were exposed to in the womb before birth.
Symptoms can include tremors, shaking, fevers, sleeping problems, and uncontrollable crying that these blankets aim to soothe.
“With that weight, it helps to calm the nerves of that baby. Whenever they experience drugs at such a young age like that, it doesn’t allow their central nervous system to develop how it should,” Katie told 6 News.
Research shows that weighted blankets can help anxiety in adults, with blankets weighing up to 25 pounds.
Katie says this data was also proven in infants, following a study out of a Children’s Hospital in Ohio.
The research led to Worth the Weight, funding these blankets (made by Kozie Clothes) and to fund research.
“The amount of people who have volunteered to help has also been incredible. I would’ve never thought that it could happen this way,” Katie said.
This is an example of when you have an idea of how to make your community better: go out and make it happen.
“The only thing you could be told is no. That’s the worst thing that could possibly happen. I just took that and ran with it.”
Worth the Weight is launching a new campaign to raise $1,500 dollars for 50 blankets by February.