November is Prematurity Awareness Month, a time when the March of Dimes strives to raise awareness about premature births.
And Wednesday has been set aside as Prematurity Awareness Day, when March of Dimes chapters across the U.S. host special events. In Fort Wayne, the local March of Dimes office will deliver gift bags of handmade hats, mittens and blankets to families of children born prematurely.
What better time to provide you a knit hat pattern that will fit premature babies?
Lara Neel, of Math4Knitters (Crafty Living’s companion podcast), came up with patterns for three different-sized hats. After talking to some neonatal and newborn intensive care unit nurses, we decided to print the largest size here. You can find the others by clicking on Math4Knitters show 46 at www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving.
There, you can also hear the nurses – Renell Leichty from Parkview Hospital and Irene Wagley from Lutheran Hospital – talk about the importance of these items to premature newborns and their families.
All the hospitals that have NICUs accept donations year-round. At Parkview, donations go through the foundation and are reviewed by a team before distribution. At Lutheran Health Network hospitals, items can be dropped off at the NICU and are then sent home with a nurse to be laundered.
In separate interviews Leichty and Wagley offered up several suggestions for knitters (and crocheters) interested in making items to donate (it doesn’t have to be hats; they accept blankets and clothing items as well).
The single most important thing to keep in mind is that these babies are sensitive so soft material (nothing wool) should be used.
As much as some of us might like the eyelash or fuzzy yarns, those are no good because they don’t want loose fibers in the babies’ beds. Plus, these items have to stand up to a hot-water wash.
The donated items should not be exposed to cigarette smoke or pet hair and dander, both nurses said. Any clothing items should have Velcro or tie closures and be easy access. Also, there should not be small parts that can end up loose in the baby’s bed (such as silk flower adornments). However, Wagley says crochet flowers would be nice for hats made for baby girls.
In terms of colors, both women said that colors that match the seasons are always nice, and Wagley said she’s seen a lot of families who like to dress their babies in their favorite teams’ colors. So, this time of year, fall colors may be nice, but it is also a good time to start working on holiday season colors of red, green and white.
I would always recommend for anyone making anything to go ahead and include maybe a Bible verse, poem or saying, Wagley said, adding that words of comfort help families during trying times.
And, Leichty encouraged people to maybe say a prayer while making their items.