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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Knit. . . Premature baby stuff for CHCH, plus a bit about Pēpi Pods and traditional wahakura

A bit of "charity knitting" today. . .
One of the lovely women at Nelson Knit Night (we shall call her "C") has contacted Nelson Hospital Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) to ask if the Christchurch Neonatal Unit might be needing some woolly hats and bootees for the prem babies down there. The answer was yes, as due to all the stress caused by the earthquake they are expecting more premature births than usual in the Christchurch area. Thus the call went out to our little band of knitters/crocheters. "C" has offered to courier the knitted goodness down to Christchurch once she has gathered enough items together. Wifie and I have knitted 3 pairs of bootees between us so far and I have started on a ribby hat.
Bootees by Lulu at the back, mine at the front. . .
Meanwhile, I told my mum over in the UK what we were up to and she has decided to donate a big bag full of prem-size baby bootees to the Christchurch Neonatal Unit as well! Alongside all her other knitting, mum usually knits enough tiny bootees until she fills a large tin with them and then donates them to her local SCBU, but this time it's the babies of CHCH who will benefit. "Love knitted into every stitch" as the saying goes in our family! I am planning to knit a few more hats and Lulu is part way through a pair of bootees, then I will give it all to "C" to send down to Christchurch. it's a small gesture, but hopefully one that will offer a little comfort to some of the most vulnerable babies in Christchurch.

Talking of vulnerable babies in the Christchurch area, I recently came across an appeal for sponsorship of "Pēpi Pods" for Christchurch, on the website Change for our Children. A Pēpi Pod is a protected space for babies to sleep in during their first months of life.
Baby in Pēpi Pod.
The primary purpose of a Pēpi Pod is to reduce the incidence of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) in babies most at risk. Babies considered most vulnerable to SUDI include those born prematurely, those exposed to smoke in utero or after birth, babies who are not fed breast-milk (whether expressed breast milk or directly breastfed) babies of low birthweight and those not placed on their backs to sleep.  From the website link above: "The pepi-pod is such a space for more vulnerable babies who need to be close to a parent AND safe when they sleep. . . The Pepi-Pod is a low-cost 'safe sleep' option for more vulnerable babies (those who bed share with mothers who smoked in pregnancy). It is expected, in time, to be more readily available, so that all babies have the opportunity for protection during sleep. Pepi means 'baby' in Maori and of course a pod protects seeds during a vulnerable time for a plant."
Photo above taken from Sunday Star Times article 16.11.10

There is also a traditional safe sleeping space for babies in Māori culture and this is known as a wakahura. It is a hand-woven flax/harakeke "bassinet" or "Moses basket" for babies up to 5 or 6 months of age. It is portable and provides a safe space for baby to sleep, returning to a traditional Māori way of sleeping babies. Wahakura roughly means "Something to carry a precious baby." The picture below is taken from the Canterbury Breastfeeding Network website.
Safe bed-sharing with a wahakura

 With both the wahakura and the pēpi pods, it is essential that safe sleeping rules are also followed.

For anyone interested, the cost of sponsoring a complete Pēpi Pod is NZ$46, but they are also looking for people who are able to sew covers to the specified measurements, and the dimensions are given on the website. Please follow this link.

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