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Best Practice For Designing Premature Baby Clothes Best Practice For Designing Premature Baby Clothes
Designing clothes requires specific skills, from drawing and sewing to coordinating colours as well as having a flair for style, however, when it comes to designing premature baby clothes there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Fit for purpose: you have to consider the clothing's purpose

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Special care baby unit (SCBU) clothing needs to allow the medical staff quick and easy access to the babies; therefore you need to avoid fiddly buttons or ties. Poppers or Velcro fastening are the best option. Babies in NICU often forget to breathe so pads are attached to the chest to monitor them. Tubes are used to take blood, feed the baby and administer drugs, therefore clothing needs to allow enough room for both baby and any medical equipment they might be connected to.

Remember: The cuffs on both sleeves and legs need enough room to accommodate medical leads and tubes. The body width of garments needs to be wide enough to accommodate any medical condition or equipment that might be required.

Avoid: Adding bows with long trailing ribbons to babies clothing; they are unnecessary and could potentially be harmful. Also avoid incorporating covered feet in your designs, as premature babies are often connected to medical equipment or have tests that require access to their feet.

Fabric: Needs to be very soft so as not to irritate a tiny babies delicate skin. Choose a natural fibre such as cotton or cotton interlock. Make sure that any embellishment is covered on the reverse of the fabric with a soft backing to ensure it does not come into direct contact with the babies skin.

If you are knitting or crocheting baby clothes ensure you use high quality baby wool as cheap wool will not be soft enough and could damage a premature babies delicate skin.

Fastenings: Choose either Velcro or press stud type fastenings (poppers), as these are the quickest and easiest to undo.

Colour: Careful consideration is required as some colours will be unsuitable for some premature babies, for example a baby with jaundice would be better suited to pink, lilac or blue as yellow will cause the babies jaundice to appear more noticeable.

Conclusion: Not all premature baby clothes are fit for the purpose they are intended for, So before you purchase any clothing check with your local hospitalís NICU or SCBU and find out what type of clothing they prefer as this will vary between hospitals.
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