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Mater seeking heart-felt gifts for the smallest of patients

Heart and craft: Mater Mothers’ Hospital is appealing for crafty sewers to make Cuddle Hearts for new-born babies in its Neonatal Critical Care Unit. Photo: Mater Mothers’ Hospital

MATER Mothers’ Hospital is on the lookout for crafty people with a heart for new-born babies.

Anyone who can sew and would like to help mothers and babies in the early days of the little ones’ lives then the Mater would like to hear from you.

The simple act of a mother holding her baby whenever she wants is something mums in Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) can’t always do, so soft-fabric Cuddle Hearts linking mum and baby fill a gap when the two can’t be together.

The fabric hearts are two heart-shaped pieces of material.

One heart is given to the mother and placed on her chest to pick up her scent, and the other heart is placed close to the baby for the same reason.

The hearts are then swapped so mother and baby are left with each other’s scented heart.

Mater Mothers’ has introduced the program to help a mother’s milk come in when she is apart from her baby.

The scent of the mother also has a calming effect on the baby.

NCCU lactation consultant Sue Childs said the program was introduced to improve feeding success and to help establish a connection between mother and baby through smell.

“Most mothers and babies have an immediate connection after birth, but in pre-term situations and when newborns require surgery, babies will often require emergency care and in some cases are not able to have any initial skin to skin contact,” Ms Childs said.

“It’s really wonderful for a baby to learn its mother’s scent and vice-versa when they are separated for any period of time.

“The hearts are a comfort to both mother and baby.”

Cuddle Hearts are one way to help with the emotional and physical challenges faced by NCCU mums.

Mater Mothers’ Hospital is looking for volunteers to sew hearts for the NCCU mothers and babies.

Anyone interested can click on the link below for a template for the Cuddle Hearts and for delivery instructions:

Click here to access the template and delivery instructions https://www.matermothers.org.au/getattachment/News/February-2017/Calling-all-the-crafty-folk/A-Guide-to-sewing-Cuddle-Hearts_FINAL.pdf

Use soft cotton or flannelette material and nothing fluffy or synthetic

The Cuddle Heart is two heart-shaped pieces of material sewn together back-to-back, without stuffing

The hearts need to be sewn inside out and then turned out, and have no raw edges, no over-locking (updated from original instructions – if you have completed your hearts please still send them)

Please make three Cuddle Hearts per pack (one for mum, one for baby and one spare)

Wash all hearts and deliver to Mater Mothers’ Hospital Level 6, Neonatal Critical Care Unit reception Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane QLD 4101

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