Blanket Sleepers

The blanket sleeper program was started by request of the nursing management in the NICU at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital (UICH).  These sleepers are designed to help ease the transition from the NICU to home.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep, while wearing a blanket sleeper, instead of using loose blankets to decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  We invite you to read the AAP recommendations on safe sleeping practices.


Why are the Sleepers Needed?

In the NICU, premature and critically-ill babies are often swaddled in their isolettes to simulate the environment of the womb.  When the babies are ready go home, the nurses teach safe sleeping methods outside of the NICU which include sleeping on a firm mattress, with baby flat on his/her back and without any loose blankets.  According to the UIHC, NICU on return visits some parents reported that when they brought their baby home and attempted the “safe sleeping method”, the infants were uncomfortable in a foreign position and unable to sleep.  Out of frustration, parents returned to swaddling and placing baby on his/her stomach.  The blanket sleepers are designed to ease baby’s transition from the NICU to home and serve as a reminder of the safe sleeping method.

How are the blanket sleepers used?

Every baby in the UICH NICU receives a blanket sleeper at least 48 hrs. prior to discharge.  The nurses starting using the sleepers instead of swaddling blankets to start the transition to the home environment.  A sleeper goes home with every baby to further ease the transition and serve as a reminder of safe sleeping practices.

Yearly Goals:
5-6lb:  176 sleepers
6-9lb:  570 sleepers
9-12lb: 130 sleepers

How Can You Help?

1. Make and donate sleepers on your own time.  Attend an upcoming work group and help make the sleepers.  These are great opportunities to receive lessons for making them.  View our Calendar of Events for upcoming dates.

2. Donate Materials: Fleece (pastel baby colors and prints). Fleece scraps that are at least 18 inches wide and 40 inches long. Thread. Separating Zippers.

3. Help us Cut-Out Sleepers from TPP Purchased Fabric: This opportunity is reserved for local volunteers

Where can I Find the Pattern?

Visit the pattern page on our website


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