In an effort to ease stress for the families of infants in the neonatal intensive care unit, Hackensack University Medical Center now offers a story beads program. The idea is to create a visual story of the newborn’s life with beads representing specific milestones, such as the baby’s naming, its first bath or the attainment of certain weights for the often tiny infant.

Hackensack officials believe that the program is different from other beading programs in that it stresses bonding over the medical experience. “It’s a way to nurture the nurturer and foster attachment,” says Ellen Goldring, section chief of child life/creative arts therapy at Hackensack’s Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. Funding came from the Starlight Foundation.