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The Zaky Hand - A Therapeutic Pillow for NICU Babies

Updated on August 23, 2017

Comfort Your NICU Baby with a Hand Pillow and Kangaroo Care

The Zaky (or Zakeez) is an ergodynamic positioning pillow. This unique pillow was designed by a former NICU parent, Dr. Yamile Jackson, after her own NICU experiences with her son Zachary.

One of the most difficult things for NICU parents to do is to realize that they cannot stay with their NICU baby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

At some time you have to leave the hospital and your precious baby behind in the care of others.

The Zaky Hand, now produced by Nurtured by Design, is a way of providing comfort to your NICU baby when you are not able to be with him or her (and comfort to yourself when you need to leave your baby behind).

In addition to the Zakeez hand, the Nurtured by Design company also now makes an award-winner Kangaroo Zak, a special wrap designed to facilitate kangaroo care, or skin-to-skin bonding.

Image: Zakeez inc.

The Story Behind the Zaky

Zachary weighed 2 lbs when he was born at Memorial Hermann Hospital during Tropical Storm Allison. flooded Memorial Hermann Hospital. The hospital lost power during the storm and in order to live, Zachary needed a special NICU warmer and the breathing machine.

For 10 hours Zachary was kept alive "by hand" until he was evacuated. His mother held him against her chest with skin-to-skin contact (Kangaroo Care) to give him warmth, help his heart-rate and stress, while his father and nurses (Anderson Moya and Mike) hand-ventilated him.

Ultimately after their NICU experience, Zachary's mother, Yamile Jackson who holds a PhD in ergonomics & human factors engineering, designed and created the special ergodynamic positioning pillow to provide comfort to other NICU babies (and their parents).

A Hand to Cradle and Comfort

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon

Zakeez Therapeutic Positioning Pillow

The Zaky Hand on Amazon

The Zakeez Hands come in a variety of colors and in different hands—right and left.

With The Zaky you help your baby feel comfortable, accompanied, protected and secure.

It is the soothing touch that helps him cry less and sleep better when you are not holding him.

— The Zakeez company (Nurtured by Design)

Cradled in the NICU in Zakeez Hands

Image: Zakees Inc.

Yamile Jackson's TED Talk

Listen to the TED talk delivered by Nurtured by Design CEO, Yamile Jackson, on the experience she has with her son's time in the NICU.

The Zaky Hand

Ways to Provide Comfort with the Zaky

Here is a list of just some of the benefits provided by this ergonomic, bonding, therapeutic positioning pillow.

  1. The size and weight simulates the hand and touch of the mother.
  2. It may be used on top, around and under the baby to provide boundaries (except on the face).
  3. Babies feel reassured as if someone is touching them, which assists in their need of feeling protected.
  4. It assists nurses and care givers as she can leave a Zakeez with each baby.
  5. Parents feel as they are leaving one hand with their baby, helping them feel more involved in the care of the patient.
  6. May be warmed in the towel warmer at hospitals and on the dryer at home.

Benefit of a Zakeez Hand

The Zaky Hand helps cradle and comfort your NICU baby even when you are not there to do so.

The Zaky in Pink (Rose)

Using Zaky in the NICU - Videos

Hear from NICU nurses and other NICU personnel how these special pillows are used in the NICU by nurses and parents.

Some of the Many Uses for the Zakeez Pillow

  1. Children of working or traveling parents
  2. Colicky and uncomfortable babies that constantly want to be held
  3. Healthy and/or full-time babies at home, child-care facilities, and pre-schools
  4. Premature babies weighing 1lb or more, and children undergoing medical procedures
  5. Small babies in car seats, strollers, bouncy seats, etc., to keep proper and safe positioning
  6. Children of any age with special needs
  7. Military families with mom/dad on duty
  8. Long-term hospitalization away from each other (i.e., cancer, burn, therapy, rehab, etc)
  9. Grandparents who want to send a hug to their grandchildren
  10. Children at adoption centers and foster-care homes
  11. Gift to employees/clients with new babies with a card that says: "Now it is our turn to give you a hand"
  12. As gifts for baby showers - it is the most unique and useful baby gift in the market today

A Grateful Parent finds out about the Zakeez Hand

A parent commented on the review that I did for the NICU Parent Support Blog:

  • It seems my little miracle will be arriving much earlier than anticipated in June instead of August, and with a toddler at home...I would love to have the comforting touch with my newborn when I can't be with him. I will have to look this up and order one today! Thanks again!!

The Zaky in the NICU

The award-winning ergonomic, bonding, therapeutic positioning pillow was designed especially for premature babies that have to be left at the hospital away from their parents.

The special hand allows you to "leave a hand with a loved one" and "give your baby a hand" when you are not there.

By mimicking the shape, weight and touch of a human hand, this special positioning pillow provides comfort to NICU babies (and others) giving support and a sense of security. In the NICU setting, the pillow hand can be another helpful hand assisting with positioning.

In addition the hand pillow can be scented with the scent of mom, dad, or siblings. Scenting the pillow can provide a great deal of comfort and assist the baby's transitions to different environments in the hospital, in the car or once at home.

The positioning pillow is something constant and helps to reduce the shock many baby's experience with different lighting, scents, sounds, temperature, etc.

The Zaky in Cream

The Zaky Ergonomic Bonding and Positioning Pillow for Preemies and Infants by Zakeez - Cream (Left Hand)
The Zaky Ergonomic Bonding and Positioning Pillow for Preemies and Infants by Zakeez - Cream (Left Hand)
The Zaky also comes in cream color for those who prefer a more neutral colored hand.

Yamile Jackson - Innovator of the Year

Reviews of the Zaky

A collection of reviews on the unique NICU positioning pillow from some that follow the latest gadget trends (and probably were never NICU parents).

Your Thoughts on the Zakeez Ergodynamic NICU Hand

What do you think about the ergodynamic hand? Is it comforting or just weird?

OBOZ Donation/Gift Program

On Behalf of Zachary

Zakeez - OBOZ Program

The Zakeez Oboz Program allows you to donate a hand (or two) to your NICU all you have to do is pay for minimal administration fees, shipping and handling.

  • Families of hospitalized babies may receive 50% discount On Behalf Of Zachary (OBOZ) when purchasing our products for personal use (All hospitals welcome our products)
  • The person placing the order is responsible for shipping, applicable taxes, and/or custom fees.

To date the Zakeez company (now Nurtured by Design) has donated thousands of dollars worth of their products to help hospitalized babies around the world.

I donated two hands to one of the NICUs at the hospitals that took care of my daughter.

The Kangaroo Zak

Best Practice is Kangaroo Care as soon as possible, for as long as possible, and as uninterrupted as possible.

— Nyqvist et al., 2010, May Acta Paediatrica

Kangaroozak Care - Videos

Find out more about Kangaroo care that the Kangaroozak.

Kangaroozak zvailable on Amazon
Kangaroozak zvailable on Amazon

Kangaroozak for Skin to Skin Bonding

Another helpful comforting resource from Nurtured by Design is the Kangaroozak, a wrap around top that promotes Kangaroo care, a skin to skin cuddling technique show to improve the health of NICU babies.

The award-winning Kangaroo Zak was specifically designed to assist in providing safe, comfortable, hands-free kangaroo care cuddling sessions in the NICU, in the hospital and at home.

Kangaroo Zak and Blanket is available on Amazon

Kangaroo Zak on Amazon

The Kangaroozak is another way of bonding with a NICU baby by providing direct skin to skin contact while cuddling and comforting.

Note about Using Kangaroozak

Before using the Kangaroo Zak, parents (or caregivers) must have the training and supervision from a professional knowledgeable in Kangaroo Care.

Benefiting the March of Dimes

This lens benefits the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

What do you think about this unique comforting and positioning pillow or kangaroo zak?

Comment on the Zakeez Comfort Pillow or Kangaroo Care

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    • MissionBoundCre profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens for a great cause

    • Mamabyrd profile image


      7 years ago from West Texas

      I think these are a wonderful idea! I had never seen them before. Thank you for sharing

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Very interesting. Is this like the Thundershirt that you can buy for your dog? Squid Angel blessed.

    • profile image

      ContentbyCasey LM 

      8 years ago

      Very nice lens.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Sounds really reasonable!

      ... I am only puzzled by this detail: In the Amazon modules, the image for the right hand Zaky shows a left hand, and vice versa. I wonder what you actually get when ordering one of them???

    • religions7 profile image


      12 years ago

      great invention.


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