Preemie mom sews free clothes for NICU babies

Preemie mom sews free clothes for NICU babies

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Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — The NICU can be an emotional, scary place for new parents. One mom is trying to change that, one tiny outfit at a time.

Amanda Huhta’s first pregnancy took a terrifying turn when she was 25 weeks and four days along. Instead of preparing for her third trimester, Huhta found herself delivering her tiny son more than three months early, Today reported.

The baby weighed just 1 pound 12 ounces, and ended up spending 110 days in the NICU before his parents were finally able to bring him home. Those 110 days were extremely difficult for the new parents, and the gravity of the situation hit Huhta one day when she pulled out the outfit she’d intended her baby to wear on the day he was born.

“You want to go to the hospital and put the clothes on that you picked out for your baby and take him home, crying and happy,” she told Today. “But you go to the NICU and your world is turned upside down.”

Huhta searched for an outfit that was tiny enough for her micro-preemie, but everything she found was expensive, according to her website. She finally called her mother to lament, and grandma quickly sprang into action — sewing a pint-sized shirt for her new grandson to wear during his stay in the hospital.

The shirt brought a glimmer of hope to Huhta and her husband, and it was during that heavy stay with her little fighter that she realized she wasn’t the only one who needed a boost.

“Twenty-Five and Four was created when I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was torn apart that I wasn’t able to dress my baby,” she wrote on her website.

Twenty-Five and Four — named in honor of her son — provides free micro-preemie “vests” to tiny babies in NICUs across the country. The vests lay flat and allow parents to wrap their babies tight, securing the fabric with Velcro.

The Velcro is key, Huhta told Today, because one-piece shirts and onesies are often impossible with all the wires and tubes often attached to preemies.

“When (babies) are in the NICU, they’re most likely, but not always, going to have some kind of lines attached to them — oxygen or heart rate monitors — and putting on a regular onesie is difficult because you have to detach the lines and put them through the onesie and then put the onesie on the baby, and things can get caught,” she said.

Parents of preemies can go to the website, select fabric and request their free vest. At first, Huhta sewed all the shirts herself, but as her efforts gained momentum, she had dozens of seamstresses contact her, offering their help.

Twenty-Five and Four now has volunteers in every state — some sew and others deliver to local hospitals, Today reported.

Huhta said parents who’ve experienced the pain of the NICU understand the importance of the idea that “no baby is too small to have a shirt.”

"Having that shirt gives them a little bit of joy, a little bit of hope,” Huhta said.

Twenty-Five and Four is fully funded by donations, and Huhta is going through the process of establishing nonprofit status. She told Today it’s been wonderful to make deliveries with her son, who inspired the whole project.

“He thinks it’s so great,” she said. “He says, ‘Are you sewing for the sick babies?’ He knows that when we go to the hospital, we’re there to help.”


Jessica Ivins

About the Author: Jessica Ivins

Jessica Ivins has three loves: her family, donuts and the news. She's been producing, writing and editing for KSL for more than 8 years, and doesn't plan to stop until she's 90. Jessica spends her free time running, eating and hiking her way through Seattle, where she lives with her husband and three children. Jessica can be reached at benjigur@gmail.com.

Huhta said parents who’ve experienced the pain of the NICU understand the importance of the idea that “no baby is too small to have a shirt.”

"Having that shirt gives them a little bit of joy, a little bit of hope,” Huhta said.

Twenty-Five and Four is fully funded by donations, and Huhta is going through the process of establishing nonprofit status. She told Today it’s been wonderful to make deliveries with her son, who inspired the whole project.

“He thinks it’s so great,” she said. “He says, ‘Are you sewing for the sick babies?’ He knows that when we go to the hospital, we’re there to help.”


![Jessica Ivins](//img.ksl.com/slc/2598/259869/25986908\.jpg)
About the Author: Jessica Ivins -------------------------------

Jessica Ivins has three loves: her family, donuts and the news. She's been producing, writing and editing for KSL for more than 8 years, and doesn't plan to stop until she's 90. Jessica spends her free time running, eating and hiking her way through Seattle, where she lives with her husband and three children. Jessica can be reached at benjigur@gmail.com.

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