Providing Comfort to Babies in the NICU

Members of the Flying Fingers knitting group at The Village at Orchard Ridge–A National Lutheran Community undertook a special project recently – knitting frontless sweaters to give to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Winchester Medical Center.

Aptly named “baby cuddles” by the group, the open-front sweaters allow for skin-to-skin cuddling between mother and baby, or father and baby, while keeping the baby’s back warm. Also known as Kangarooing, skin-to-skin contact has been shown to be a very beneficial experience for newborns – helping to keep them warm and regulate their breathing, along with countless other benefits.

Recognizing the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, residents Beverly Campbell and Rhoda Kriz thought this would be a wonderful project for the Flying Fingers.

Beverly Campbell, baby cuddler volunteer at Winchester Medical Center, will hold, rock, sing to or comfort babies in the NICU – often premature babies – when their parents are not able to be with them.

Each sweater took approximately one week to knit, and required just as much work as a regular sweater, despite not having a front. Nearly two dozen group members collectively worked on this project until 17 sweaters, in various sizes from newborn to 10-pound babies, were completed.

The Flying Fingers also knitted tiny crowns in pink, blues and yellows for the babies to wear with the sweaters. Their hard work was featured by The Winchester Star on March 11, 2017.

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