NZ hospitals asking the public for help knitting clothes for premature babies

Auckland's North shore and Waitakere Hospitals are in need of more knitted blankets and clothes for the Specialist Care Baby Unit.

So knitters across the country are getting their needles out to make little hats to keep the babies warm.

"Everything like the beanies, the support, the staff, it all makes a huge difference," said Keaton Gregory, mother of a premature baby.

Woollen goods are always needed in Neonatal units across the country. They add splash of colour and help parents anxiously waiting to take their special babies home.

"It was a huge shock, really really stressful but everyone here has been incredible, been really supportive," Ms Gregory said.

"We have been informed every step of the way, we come in the middle of the night and no bodies got any problems with that.

No one's ever ready for a premature baby, so the hospital has to be.

But they can never quite get enough knitted goods for the babies, and hospitals all over the country are in need of more.

"I know other neonatal units are putting things on Facebook asking for knitted goods so it's right across New Zealand that people are short," said Karen Boyle, North Shore Hospital Specialist Care Baby Unit charge nurse.

So knitters young and old are coming together to create tiny outfits for the smallest babies.

Courtney Bennett runs an online knitting club that donates hand knitted hats. Born premature herself her parents have always reminded her of the work the nurses in intensive care did to keep her alive nearly 30 years ago.

"I've always wanted to give back in some way and the preemie knitting club is the way I'm doing it," she told Newshub.

The hats and blankets her group makes are vital to keep premature babies warm over winter and they also play another role, fashion.

Bright neon's and bold block colours will make up knitted goods for the babies to wear.

"I think they will be the trendiest preemies around," Ms Bennett said.

Trendy babies, but many have serious health problems which need monitoring around the clock.

"We have around 600 admissions a year," said clinical nurse educator Kerryn Shaw.

"It's a lot of babies to keep warm and it's a lot of hats and booties and cardies we need"

Wool's preferred as it's a natural fabric that breathes, but wool is expensive and knitting isn't the wide spread hobby that it used to be.

So if those want to get back into knitting you can buy a kidset kit with everything that's needed or buy the wool yourself. Either way will help new-borns.

"Keeping a baby warm at home will potentially stop them from having to come back into hospital," Ms Shaw said.

And keeping babies warm is what it is all about.

There are many places where you can buy wool and many wonderful organisations helping knit for premature babies across the country.

One way to buy wool is through Kidset. With each kit sold, $5 will be donated to the Well Foundation.

If you have the wool yourself one of the places to donate to is, The Premmie Knitting Club.

They then donate the knitted goods to the Well Foundation, a charity supporting the North Shore and Waitakere hospitals. 

You can also contact your local DHB and see if they are in need of knitting or donations.