Newborns often have difficulty regulating their body temperature right after birth. Most hospitals recommend skin-to-skin, or kangaroo, care, in which the naked baby (with diaper) is place on her mother’s bare chest, between the
breasts, with the baby’s head turned to the side. They are then both covered with a light receiving blanket or cover. Mothers should not fall asleep while doing skin-to-skin, so I always suggest having someone else in the room who is planning to stay awake and alert.
But things can be a little more difficult for babies in the NICU. While in many cases, the infants are still encouraged to be held skin-to skin, there are some instances when that contact is limited or delayed because of medical care.
The staff will make sure your baby is kept warm and monitored and will put a
cap on your infant. We’ve all seen those cute little blue and pink striped stocking caps the hospital gives you.
But if your baby has a protracted stay in the NICU, or you just want an individualized look, or maybe your baby is born in winter so you need a cap for outings, you might want to knit your own (or ask someone to do it for you!). And you (or your friend) might have so much fun doing it, you want to knit a few more to donate to your nearby NICU. A cap you donate is given to a baby who takes it home at discharge time.
My neighbor, Maire, knit these caps using multicolored yarn. She is donating them to our local hospital.
Of course, because it is a NICU, it’s important to follow specific guidelines. Maire used the pattern and instructions (“the infant cap”) at Ravelry.com. You do have to join but it’s free. There is a $4 download fee for the pattern.
I am not a knitter but am assured it is not a difficult pattern at all.
Maire suggests, if you are planning to donate them, calling the NICU you are planning to donate to and get any specific guidelines they have, especially about yarn type and washing before you start.