Dreamy Bonding Square pattern

Dreamy Bonding Square pattern

Dreamy Bonding Square pattern

I had the absolute pleasure to participate in this year's Preemie Crochet Challenge 2023. I think this is an amazing way to support babies and families who face time in the NICU and show a little love in such a scary time. Check out the other amazing patterns in this challenge and make some amazing items for donation to your nearest NICU.

When I found out I was going to be a part of the Challenge, I knew I wanted to make a bonding square. When I first learned about these magical little squares I knew I had to incorporate them into my designing and products. They became personal to me.

I have a brother who was born almost 2 months early and spent the first 2 months of his life in the NICU. The closest NICU to where we lived was 6 hours away from home. I was 18 months old at the time and my mom had to live in a Ronald McDonald home with me during that time so she could be close to my brother and still be with me. My dad had to stay home and work, and this whole thing was so stressful.

Bonding squares would have given my mom one thing to help her feel closer to the new baby while she could not physically be with him. One small thing to make her feel like she was doing something to help her baby. One way to feel connected when she couldn't hold him. 

How Bonding Squares Are Used

Bonding squares are made in pairs. One square is worn by mom (or dad) to gather the scent. The other is kept with the baby (which also gathers the baby's scent). These squares are swapped every 12 hours or so. In doing this, the baby is able to learn the mother's (or father's) scent, and the mother/father is able to learn the baby's scent. This aids the bonding process while the baby is not able to be home or even in the arms of his/her parents.

These little squares are also helpful for parents who may work long hours or be gone for multiple days for work. They help the baby still learn the scent of the parent, even when he/she is not able to be present during waking hours. Make a couple set and have the parent wear them all day, then put it in a zip top bag to maintain the scent. Then have the squares (one at a time) close to baby while that parent is not at home and the bonding process can still occur.

Another great thing about these little squares is they make great little "Lovey" style mini-blankets that baby can play with as he/she gets a little older. A great alternative to a large blanket in a stroller or carseat that the baby can snuggle, nuzzle, rub on a cheek, or rub between fingers. A great sensory item that also acts as a soothing comfort item. 

Design Process

I used bamboo yarn for these bonding squares instead of cotton. I did this for a few reasons. Bamboo yarn tends to be even softer than cotton. It flows so nicely and does not cause sweating when worn. Bamboo yarn is also antimicrobial, which means they will not cause extra worry of bacteria or illness.  It also holds up well to regular washing and use, which is always nice for baby items.

I wanted a textured pattern, but also something a little more airy. This way when the bonding squares are worn by mom or dad, they don't get too hot and uncomfortable. I also used a slightly larger hook than called for by the yarn so it would make the cloth a little more flexible.

The pattern is a 2 row repeat, which makes it easy to work while watching a movie or listening to an audio book. A simple border gives the square a polished look without detracting from the texture of the pattern. These work up in about 20 minutes per square, so they are a very quick make. Perfect for a way to make several to donate without taking all your time.

Find the free pattern below, or get a printer friendly PDF from my shop.

The Pattern


Yarn: Lion Brand TruBoo

Substitutions include Lion Brand NuBoo, Lion Brand CoBoo, and Hobbii Rainbow Bamboo

Hook: 4.5 mm (G+)

Tapestry needle
Stitch marker (optional)
Tape measure (optional)


Finished square measures approximately 4.5” x 4.5” with yarn and hook noted. Feel free to adjust as needed.


  • The gauge is not important for this pattern, but the texture, flow, and feel of the square will be different if a smaller or larger hook is used, or if the yarn used is different from what is listed above.
  • You may use a starting chain of 18, then do a row of HDC, starting in the 2nd Ch from hook if you are not comfortable with the FHDC.
  • The pattern is a repeat of 2 for resizing purposes.
  • This pattern is written in US terms.

Special Stitches:

F2L: Work your HDC in the front 2 loops (when looking at the 3 loops created in an HDC with front loop, back loop, and 3rd loop). See photos below.

B2L: Work your HDC in the back 2 loops (when looking at the 3 loops created in an HDC with front loop, back loop, and 3rd loop). See photos below.

ESC: Insert hook, YO, pull through (2 loops on hook). YO, pull through 1 loop (2 loops on hook). YO, pull through both loops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbI-7aqCHbo

FHDC: Ch 3. YO, insert hook into 2nd Ch from hook. YO, pull through 1 loop (3 loops still on hook). YO, pull through 1 (creating a Ch ). *YO, insert hook under the two loops of the V on the underside of the previous FHDC, pull up loop. YO, pull through 1 (creating a Ch 1). YO, pull through remaining 3 loops on hook. Repeat from * until desired number of FHDC are created. https://www.mooglyblog.com/foundation-half-double-crochet/





Half Double Crochet




right side


wrong side


Extended Single Crochet


Front 2 loops


Back 2 loops


repeat what is inside the brackets


Yarn over


Foundation Half Double Crochet


Photo Tutorial:

Back 2 loops
Front 2 loops



Start with FHDC 17

Row 1: Ch 1 and turn. [HDCB2L, HDCF2L] to last st. HDCB2L in last st. (17)

Repeat Row 1 until you reach approximately 4”.


Working into the corner, *ESC, Ch 1, ESC. ESC evenly along the side to the next corner. Repeat from * for each corner and side, then follow with an invisible finish.

Here is a tutorial for how to do this: https://theloopylamb.com/2021/02/27/invisible-finish-crochet-tutorial/

Cut your yarn and weave in your ends. Make a second to create a set, and you have a great gift or donation set of Bonding Squares.

Happy crocheting! I would love to see what you create. Use #DreamyBondingSquare and/or tag me @angelkissedfiberarts





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