Knitting and Needlework: Crafting in and for the Neonatal Unit

29 August 2019

Knitting and Needlework: Crafting in and for the Neonatal Unit

Knitting, crocheting and crafting, there is an entire army of people out there who are using their creative talents to give back to the community and we think it's fantastic. In addition to helping others, there are a number of benefits for those people who are getting their "craft on" and we wanted to learn more ...

Benefits for mental health and wellbeing
This article from the Crafts Council explores why craft is good for your mental health, and we particularly like the points raised about crafting bringing people together and helping to create a sense of community. It has also been shown to relieve anxiety in ex-soldiers suffering from PTSD. Other benefits such as, "lowering blood pressure, reducing depression and slowing the onset of dementia," has led to a call for one craft in particular, knitting, to be prescribed on the NHS.

As a parent with a child who is, or has been in the neonatal unit, or as a member of staff working in the NICU, your mental wellbeing is so important. Perhaps taking up a craft would enable you to take that much needed time for yourself? Below we have highlighted a number of fabulous initiatives that are calling for volunteers to help provide neonatal units (and other units) with handmade delights, you never know, you may find your inspiration here:

1. Knitting for World Prematurity Day
World Prematurity Day takes place on 17th November and is a global day of awareness, highlighting the, "challenges and burdens of preterm births." The official colour of World Prematurity Day is purple and we have spotted a knitting group who are taking that to heart and knitting items for their local neonatal unit, St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. Could you join them? Or knit in purple for your own neonatal unit? Why not contact them and see what they are short of?

2. Octopus for a Preemie
You must have heard of these little treasures. Crochet whizzes around the world are crafting little octopuses for premature babies (and those born full term but requiring special care in the NICU) to comfort them when they are in their incubators. To the babies, the tentacles are like mum's umbilical cord and they also give them something to play with so they don’t pull at their tubes and wires. Check out their website for details of how you can get involved.

3. Storks for neonatal transfers
The Neonatal Transfer Service in London gift knitted or crocheted storks to each baby they transfer. As the unit are referred over 2,000 babies for transfer each year, that is a lot of storks! Could you help make one of these lovelies for a family to mark this stage of their neonatal journey? Learn more here and get downloading those patterns.

4. Quilts for cots and incubators
Do you own a sewing machine? Is that where your talent lies? We came across this beautiful handmade quilt that was made for a baby in the neonatal unit in Worcester. If this looks like something you'd like to make, here is a group on Facebook who craft quilts such as this. Check them out and see what it entails.

5. Pyjama Fairies
Another one for those who sew as opposed to knitting and crocheting. Pyjama Fairies is a UK charity who make pyjamas and surgical gowns (specially designed for babies and children) and distribute them to hospitals in need. They really do make some adorable garments in colourful patterns that must bring so much joy to both parents and children. Why not check out their website? Apparently even beginner seamstresses can follow their patterns.