“Back to Sleep” Campaign Update
Since we announced the “Back to Sleep” Campaign in January, we have been working hard to put together all of the details to share with our volunteers. We hope you will consider helping us with this project! For those of you who have not heard about this project yet, we’ve included the details below. If you already know all about this campaign, scroll down a bit for the new details!
What is the “Back to Sleep” Campaign?
As a part of the UIHC, NICUs “Back to Sleep” Campaign, we are providing them with blanket sleepers. These sleepers are designed to help babies transition from the NICU to their new, home environment and to reinforce safe sleeping practices. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies on their backs to sleep, while wearing a blanket sleeper, instead of using loose swaddling blankets to decrease the incidence of (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) SIDS.
Why are blanket sleepers needed?
In the NICU, premature babies are often swaddled in their isolettes to simulate the environment of the womb. Once the babies are ready to go home, the nurses teach the parents not to swaddle and to lay baby on his/her back to sleep, which decreases the risk of SIDS. Parents later report that when they brought their baby home and attempted the “safe sleeping method”, the infants were uncomfortable in a foreign position and were unable to sleep. Too often, out of frustration, parents returned to swaddling and placing baby on his/her stomach. The blanket sleepers are designed to ease this transition and reinforce safe sleeping practices.
How will the blanket sleepers be used?
Every baby in the NICU will receive a blanket sleeper 48 hrs. prior to discharge. At this point the nurses will stop swaddling baby and use the sleepers to start their transition to the home environment. The sleepers will go home with every baby to further ease the transition and serve as a reminder of safe sleeping practices.
Why does the NICU need OUR help?
Blanket sleepers sold in stores are usually sized 0-12 mos and are too large for premature and newborn babies. These larger sleepers can climb up around the face, causing baby to re-breath his/her carbon dioxide and increase the risk for SIDS. These sleepers are costly with the price ranging from $20-$40.
What is TPP doing to meet the needs of the NICU?
We are excited to “bring warmth and comfort to premature babies and their families” with the addition of these sleepers! We have designed properly sized, sewn, fleece blanket sleepers that cost ~$2.00-$2.50 a piece to make. The NICU cares for ~900 babies a year, and TPP will be supplying a blanket sleeper for all of them. , Work Group Committee Chair, designed a pattern in three sizes (5-6lb, 6-9lb, 9-12lb) and had prototypes approved by the NICU. Approximately 25% of the sleepers are made with snaps down the front and the other 75% have a “separating zipper” that zips from the top down to allow lines and tubes to be guided out the bottom.
Donation Goals for 2009:
5-6lb: 176 sleepers
6-9lb: 570 sleepers
9-12lb: 130 sleepers
We “tested” the pattern on volunteers at the January Work Group. The pattern is now available on the website! The first donation of blanket sleepers was made to the University of Iowa NICU on 2/13/2009. Thanks to the hard work of TPP sewers, 103 sleepers were delivered into the hands of a very excited nursing staff:
5-6 lb size 21 sleepers
6-9 lb size 66 sleepers
9-12 lb size 15 sleepers
We are also matching the sleepers with hats. Look at this cuteness!
The second donation of 100 sleepers was made on 3/19/09. A special thanks goes out to Sheri Null, Jane Fredericks, Susan Smith, Isabel Zvorak, Connie Cook and Cindy Dayton. The first two donations would not have happened without them!
How can you help?
We are desperate for volunteers to help with this project!
1. Donate Materials: Fleece (pastel baby colors and prints), Fleece scraps that are at least 18 inches wide and 40 inches long, thread
2. Sew Blanket Sleepers: Click here for the pattern. We can provide materials for local volunteers. Most volunteers said they were able to “get the the hang of it” after 2-3 sleepers. One can easily be sewn in ~30 min . Email if you have an interest in learning more about this project. We will be offering one-on-one instructions during day #2 of our April Work Group.
3. Cut-Out Sleepers: National volunteers who want to help can purchase fabric, cut sleepers out and send them in. We can provide materials to local volunteers. Email for more information.
4. Attend the April Work Group. Sewing skills are not necessary for participation