Mom forms organization to sew free clothes for preemies
When you’re pregnant and packing your bag for the hospital, one of the most exciting parts is picking out the outfit your baby will wear home. But for the parents of preemies, worrying about whether your baby will get to come home at all can eclipse the thought of what they’ll be wearing when they do.
Amanda Huhta is a mom who knows first hand what it’s like to have a baby that’s far too small and frail for newborn clothes. Her son, who she refers to publicly as W, was a micropreemie. Born at 25 weeks and four days gestation, W was just one pound, twelve ounces at birth and spent 112 days in the NICU before coming home. Luckily W is now a healthy three-year-old boy, but Huhta remembers her distress at not being able to find clothes small enough to fit her son while he was in the hospital. “You never really think it’s important until you can’t find anything for your kid to wear,” Huhta told Babble. “It’s like a rite of passage being able to put something on your baby.” She decided to do something to help other families facing the same struggle.
She asked her mother to teach her how to sew, and founded Twenty-Five and Four to make clothing for babies in the NICU.“My mom taught me to sew specifically for this project,” she said. “I’d never sewed in my life.” The organization’s goal is to bring just a tiny bit of normalcy into a NICU family’s life during a difficult time. From the website:
“At Twenty-Five and Four, we put the power back in the parents hands. You get to pick out the style you like and material that defines you and your family. Whether it’s cute little butterflies or big trucks and airplanes, you as the parent get to pick out your little one’s outfit. Just like you were supposed to be able to do in the first place.
This is for you.”
Not only do they come in sizes as small as a cell phone, but these special shirts are bottomless, flat and attach with Velco, meaning doctors and nurses can have them off in seconds in order to deliver life-saving care to the baby if necessary. And the best part of all is that they’re 100% free to the families receiving them.
Currently there is at least one volunteer in every state as well as people in Ireland, Brazil, and Australia lending their time and talents to Twenty-Five and Four to sew shirts. But Huhta is always looking for more volunteers or donations to expand her project even further. “This is exciting but overwhelming,” Huhta said. “I had a big vision for what would happen with this project in the future and now the future is here. The folks that volunteer to sew are awesome but what I really need is cash. I send out 3-4 shirts a day and they cost nearly $7 each to ship. I use the priority mail prepaid envelope because I want the shirts to reach the families quickly.”
While my twins weren’t micropreemies, they were premature, born at 33 weeks and 2 days gestation. The newborn onesies I had packed for them were way too big. Even though I was lucky enough to have my mom make a run to the store for some preemie rompers, preemie clothing comes at a premium price. Plus, all of the clothing had to have holes cut in them in order to accommodate the many wires going from my boys to their monitors and machines. And on the days when their health wasn’t the best, the nurses would gently suggest that we keep them stripped down just their diaper, just in case a quick medical intervention was needed. Like Huhta I’m fortunate in that my children are now healthy three-year-olds. But having a diaper shirt for them like the ones Twenty-Five and Four make would have gone a long way towards making those longs days in the NICU feel a little less dark.
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