Little outfits perfect for prem babies

19:33, Feb 23 2012
Baby WEL
LITTLE GIFT: Sharde Smith with daughter Indianna who was born six weeks early. She's now at home with her new hand-knitted merino cardigan, hat and booties.

Clothes shopping is the last thing on your mind when your baby's fighting to stay alive.

Indianna Smith was born about six weeks early.

"My waters broke on the Sunday before Waitangi Day and I had her the next day," mum Sharde Smith says.

"I hadn't even had time to write my birth plan."

Indianna spent her first weeks in the special care baby unit at Waitakere Hospital where staff could ensure her growth got off to a good start from a birth weight of 2170g.

She's now gone home to Te Atatu Peninsula with Sharde and and dad Vaughan from The Edge radio station.


Clothes small and warm enough for premature babies like Indianna are not readily available. That's where the Freemasons stepped in.

Waitakere was one of four hospitals in Auckland to receive handmade garments donated by the Freemasons Charity and the Wool Company. The packages given to babies in the special care unit include merino cardigans, vests, booties and hats.

The Freemasons national grandmaster is elected every three years and his wife selects a charity to support.

Jan Cooper, wife of national grandmaster Selwyn Cooper, launched the knitting campaign for premature babies because there are 6000 to 8000 born every year. The aim was to collect 8000 garments over three years but the women and some husbands have knitted 11,500 garments in 12 months.

Auckland west grandmaster Roy Stephen and wife Robyn visited Waitakere Hospital last week to see babies benefiting from 500 gift packs.

"I think this cause really hit home for everyone involved because many of us know women who have had this experience and we've wanted to do anything we can to help," Mrs Stephen says.

Charge nurse Janis Stockman says a one-piece small enough for a premature baby can cost up to $40.

"Realistically, they grow so fast so it can be expensive. They're often not prepared for all this but they want their babies to look their absolute best when they take them home," she says. "That's why having these little outfits there and for them to be free is huge for these families."

Western Leader