Premature babies, commonly known as “preemies” are infants born before the 37-week gestational period has ended, according to Medline Plus. These pre-term babies are often quite small and can have medical issues that confine them to the hospital until they're strong enough to survive on their own. A variety of knitting projects can be customized to these tiny recipients, and according to Knitting-Love.com, many non-profit organizations accept donations and organize knitting projects to be donated to preemie babies at local hospitals.
Keeping babies warm is crucial during those first weeks, especially if the baby is premature and can't sufficiently regulate his temperature, so a warm knit cap is a necessity to be worn at all times. Remember that premature babies are significantly smaller than normal newborns, so you'll need to revise your knitting pattern or use a pattern made for a medium-sized doll. Use soft yarn that can easily be washed and won't shed; consider avoiding materials such as wool.
A onesie is the one-piece, unitard type outfit worn by most babies. This is the quintessential clothing item in a newborn baby’s clothing repertoire, so there's no such thing as having too many. These items will need to be washed frequently, so the knit should be tight and secure. A knitted onesie can also be a more decorative and fancy outfit, so consider making an extra special look that could be worn to an event such as a christening or the preemie’s first day home.
Babies love to kick them off, but a tiny pair of knitted booties is an easy knitting project that can serve as the perfect gift for a newborn baby. Search your local craft store for special patterns that have been designed to reflect premature baby sizes, as these can vary from average baby sizes. Since they're easy and quick to make, you can whip up several booties in bright colors to add some flair to the preemie’s hospital attire.
Newborn babies often try to scratch their skin and faces, and their tiny fingernails can be quite damaging, so a pair of knitted mittens is the perfect solution. Consider adding a little elastic band of yarn so the mittens can be tightened and secured to the small hands of the little recipient. Match these with a pair of booties or a onesie for a cute set.
Hospitals issue blankets for the babies to use during their stay, but a special blanket knitted with love and care is a great alternative. This will be a small taste of home that can help comfort babies during their days in the hospital. This will also be a special keepsake to take home and keep throughout the child’s life.
A West Coast transplant currently living in Washington D.C., Rhiana Quick has always had a passion for writing and started her freelance career in 2010. Quick earned her bachelor's degree in political science and French from Boise State University and is currently working at a nonprofit organization.