Quilters’ Support for NICU
Bristol Quilters support the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southmead Hospital by making various items for the 34 cots and 25 incubators. The baby quilts are most in demand as the parent or guardian of each baby is able to choose a quilt to keep which they can take home for use later or use whilst their baby in NICU and then take home. They brighten up the ward and they are well received and a good use for members’ left over fabrics. (241 donated since September 2015)
In 2016 we began to support NICU at St. Michael’s which also has 34 cots. Here the baby quilts are kept on the wards to add a homely feel and are a colourful addition to the cots. They are also used to cover the top of the incubators to reduce the light. (137 donated since April 2016)
The matron, Kay Pullen, also requested some cushion covers to make the parents’ sitting and bedrooms more homely and we donated 3 in 2016.
Choosing fabrics and making up
Fabrics need to be capable of withstanding frequent washing at 60 degrees, preferably cotton. No wadding is needed is in the baby quilts or cot covers, but recently we have been asked to add wadding to incubator covers to help deaden sound. There is a laundry room within NICU and after washing, everything is tumble dried on a hot setting. As nothing is ironed, it is worth edge stitching to keep the layers tidily together, and a few lines of stitch within the quilt also helps. Please round the corners of the quilt if you wish, but this is not necessary. The quilts are not wadded and have a Bristol Quilters label sewn on the back.
Used inside the cot, over the baby, 16 inches by 20 inches 100 per cent cotton, front and back. Front and back can be any pattern and applique is also fine to use, but on the front only and well secured with stitching as it needs to withstand repeated washing. The Bristol Quilters label should be attached (available on the information desk at evening meetings or ask Carol to send them). Again, a couple of rows of stitching up and down and side to side at intervals will keep the quilt sitting nicely flat as it will not be ironed after washing.
Christmas baby quilts
Since 2015 we have donated each year around 40 Christmas themed quilts to Southmead NICU, so that each baby in the unit over Christmas is gifted one. We had more than enough in December 2017 and were able to give 14 Christmas quilts to St Michael’s to brighten the wards there.
We have also provided baby sheets for Southmead NICU, but Lisa has sufficient at present. Single sheet of hemmed fabric in 100 per cent cotton 16 inches wide by 20 inches long. These colourful cotton sheets are used under the smallest babies which are not clothed so that their skin can be easily checked. Older babies that are dressed have the sheets over them. (125 donated since October 2015)
Quilts for fully enclosed incubators are much needed, these can now be wadded (Mary Jane is able to supply wadding that can stand the 60 degree wash). The size for these is approx. 60 inches by 48 inches so that the quilt completely blocks out light at the sides and back but leaves the baby still visible from the front for observation. The fabric underneath must be completely plain and dark black, dark blue, brown etc. (please ask Carol for navy backing material.) This is not just to block light, but also because the babies can see the patterns and this may disturb them. The incubators are mainly visible from the doorways or while walking along the ward so if there are directional prints, these may be best placed so that that they are upright on the 60 inch length of the quilt. Lines of straight stitching (or use one of the many embroidery stitches on your machines) down and across the quilt at intervals will ensure it stays looking nice even if not ironed.
(6 donated since March 2016)
A new sized cover 52 inches x 36 inches for babies who are well enough to be transferred from incubators into cots. As shown in the photo, there is a bar over the cot which is used to suspend the covering to keep light from sleeping babies. The underneath should also be dark and plain. (10 donated since March 2016)
Update from Carol – March 2018
Thanks to everyone who has made baby quilts, Carol has another 13 baby quilts to donate and Sharon Hankins has been busy knitting and there are 104 premature baby hats to take as well.
Please can members attach a BQ label to the back of their quilt, it can be machine stitched on before making up. Labels can be collected from the information table in the evening meeting hall. If you can’t attend a meeting, but would like some labels, please e-mail email@example.com or call Carol (0117 9629702) and she will get them to you.
A selection of baby quilts made by some of our members