A True Story of Love, Science, and a Promise to Change the World of New Families

"Nothing healed my soul, body, and mind than being connected by touch with Zach." - Yamile

Our touch turned struggle into possibilities.

Zachary Skin to Skin with parents

Our journey with The Zaky® began with a profound personal experience. Our son Zachary was born prematurely in 2001, weighing less than 2 lbs. Amidst the challenges of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Larry and I faced uncertainty and fear but found solace in the power of touch. We discovered that our touch could soothe and comfort Zachary, transforming his struggle into hope.

During a critical moment when Tropical Storm Allison left the hospital powerless, we and the NICU staff kept Zachary alive through touch alone. This experience solidified my commitment to easing the pain and uncertainty of premature babies and their families. My background in engineering inspired me to create The Zaky HUG®, infused with our scent to comfort Zachary in our absence. This innovation proved effective, improving Zachary's sleep, development, and calmness during his NICU stay.

Driven by my experience and the desire to promote Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin contact), I addressed barriers like safety concerns and lack of awareness. I developed The Zaky ZAK® to enhance safety during care sessions, founded International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day (May 15), and launched The Zaky® app to track caregiving and kangaroo care metrics.

I founded Nurtured by Design, leveraging my family's journey and over a decade of engineering experience working in Fortune 100 companies to apply ergonomics, technology, safety, and risk management to empower babies and parents. Today, they are evidence-based products, and hospitals around the world use The Zaky® for non-pharmacologic pain management, calming, promoting sleep, neuroprotection, and supporting love and infant development.

With love and determination,
-- Yamile

Yamile Jackson, PhD, PE, PMP
Zachary's mom
CEO, Nurtured by Design
Ph.D. Ergonomics and Safety Engineering
Licensed Professional Engineer in Texas
Certified Project Management Professional
Certified Trauma Informed Professional
Certified Professional Kangaroo Caregiver

Oprah selected me, our story, and invention for the Standing Ovation Award, as an example of a woman turning her trauma and challenging experience into something that lifts others. 

Oprah's award was during her 2014 tour at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and showcased the impact of the Zaky on babies and families.

CBS documented Zachary's evacuation during Tropical Storm Allison, a pivotal event that inspired Nurtured by Design's mission.

 TNT later adapted his story into the movie "14:Hours", inspired in Zachary's survival.

In the movie, Zachary is "baby Jeremy", Yamile is "Amelia", and my husband Larry is "Gary".