A premature baby, or preemie, is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature birth occurs in between 8 percent to 10 percent of all pregnancies. Because they are born too early, preemies weigh much less than full-term babies. They may have health problems because their organs did not have enough time to develop. Preemies need special medical care in a neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. They stay there until their organ systems can work on their own. Premature babies are amazing – they can grow and thrive despite huge obstacles, and catch up to full-term babies in both size and development.
When I get question from people who are looking for premature baby knitting patterns to knit for an early baby, often they don’t know what they are looking for. Usually they want to know whether the clothes for a Baby doll are suitable to knit as garments for the tiny premature child. To help i have put a selection of preemie baby clothes together in an e booklet. Please leave you email address and i will be happy to send you a free copy.
A premature baby has very delicate skin so make sure you use baby soft yarn. Sometimes premature babies are allergic to wool, so it’s best to steer clear of using wool mix. You can use cotton and acrylic yarn. 100% Egyptian cotton is very soft, a fantastic soft yarn for delicate skin, warm when it is cold and cool when it is warm.
Don’t put too much emphasis on trying to perfect the size of a preemie garment. There is a great variation between premature baby sizes that an item of any size should be suitable for at least one baby. As a general guide premature babies head circumference is approximately the same as their chest circumference. The average prem baby’s chest measurements are 8″-14″. However clothes of all sizes are required for preemies, so no matter how big or small your item is it will most likely fit at least one baby.
Plain flat half-inch buttons are best to use for fastening. Avoid nylon and metal fastenings, as they get very hot under the incubator heaters. Do not use Velcro as a fastening, it is very scratchy on the hook side and also damages knitted garments when they are laundered. Ease of dressing is vital for preemies and as a general rule it is best not to use ribbon as a fastening as ribbon can often be fussy to tie on a garment so small.
Knitting items for premature babies can be very rewarding and is definitely appreciated by the charities and the families who receive them. If you are excited by the prospect of getting your knitting needles working for charity please see ‘Knit for Lisa’s Stars’ and ‘Knitting with Loving Hands’ earlier posts on this blog.
For Free E Booklet ‘Knitting For Premmies’ please leave your email address in the box at the base of this blog. I promise to respect your privacy and will not pass your details on to anyone else.