NICU Bedding

The mission of The Preemie Project NICU Bedding Program is to create a comfortable, non-sterile environment for families in Iowa NICUs with donations of soft colorful sheets for the infants beds.  Initially, infants in the NICU are very critically ill.  As a result, nursing staff performs most of the care giving activities. Being able to choose the sheets for their infant’s bed is often the first and only care giving act parents are able to perform.

How can you help?

You can help by sewing and donating bedding to help our NICU families create a homelike atmosphere in their baby’s hospital room.

Flat Sheets

  • Serger:  Use 1 yard of bright, colorful cotton or flannel.  Cottons are preferred because they last 3 times longer than flannel. Finish the edge by serging around the entire piece.  You can make round corners or square corners as you serge. To make sure the stitching does not unravel, overlap the serging  at least a couple inches.
  • Sewing Machine:  If you do not own a serger, finish the edge by folding the edge over less then 1/4 inch.  Iron.  Fold the edge over a second time, less than 1/4 inch. Iron.  Sew around. NOTE: make the seam as narrow as possible so you do not lose the width of the fabric. If you tend to make wider seams, we recommend purchasing a couple extra inches of fabric so you can achieve at least a 35 inch width.
  • Do not cut the fabric to square it.  The entire yard of fabric is needed to fit the bed.
  • Finished size of a flat sheet should be about 35 inches x 41 inches.

Fitted Sheets

Use bright, colorful cotton or flannel prints. Cottons are always preferred because they last 3 times longer than flannel.  Find our pattern here.  Brightly colored fun prints are best for  fitted sheets. Please make sure you wash the fabric in hot water before sewing.

Fleece Pads: WE are fully stocked with fleece pads at this time. Thank you! 8/25/18

Use a 22in X 30in piece of solid color fleece. Serge or overlay/overcast stitch around the edges to keep it from stretching. Here is a great video on how to do a serged edge using your sewing machine. That’s it!

Crafting Guidelines

  • Cottons or Flannels are acceptable for flat and fitted sheets.  Cottons are preferred because they last 2 to 3 times longer than flannel. The flannel pills and fades badly after just a few washes in the hospital laundry.
  • Please do not use excessively old fabrics. Those patterns are out of date and will not be desirable to young mothers.
  • DO NOT use pale colors or very tiny prints. They will fade to white within one or two washes. Bright, bold colors will stand up to the harsh hospital laundry best.
  • If using flannel fabric, many reds and black patterns will bleed and are not recommended.

Third Hand Smoke Policy

In accordance with hospital policies, items from smoking homes will not be donated to hospitals for use in the NICU. Research has proven that tobacco and tobacco smoke clings to furniture, clothes, walls. This is called “third hand smoke”. “Third hand smoke” cannot be adequately washed out of fabrics and thus raises the risks for many illness in children. Please see the March of Dimes website for more information.

Page updated 09/27/18