Donabate quilters are a sewing group who meet on Tuesday evenings 7:45 -9:45 pm in the portacabin at Donabate Community Centre from September to end of May. When last March Olive, who is one of our members, mentioned that her daughter Dr. Caoimhe Costigan had worked with the National Neonatal Transport Team, and that they used small baby quilts to cover the incubators while transporting the babies. She also mentioned that the Neonatal Unit at Holles Street Hospital was very interested in using quilts on their incubators also. We discussed this at our class and quickly decided it was a very worthwhile project and that we would be delighted to make the quilts.
We liaised with Dr. Carmel Moore, Neonatologist at Holles Street Hospital, she explained what type of quilts were required, measurements, and types of fabric. She also explained the function of the quilts. The incubator covers are important because babies born early or unwell are sensitive to light, before 32 weeks the eyelids are very thin and their pupils cannot constrict, we try to control the level of lighting depending of a baby’s stage of development and sensitivity. This also helps to develop sleep rhythms that are important for growth and brain development. So knowing this important information and exactly what was required, we got busy designing, cutting, sewing and quilting. And 2 months later, we had 22 beautiful quilts of various designs and colours ready for the Neonatal unit. On the 8th of June, 3 of our members: Maura Porter, Liz Downey, and Linda Harford brought the quilts to Holles Street Hospital, where they were met by Dr. Carmel Moore. To demonstrate its function, she placed a quilt on to an empty incubator to show how the light would be reduced while still allowing access to the baby. The Donabate Quilters were very happy to be involved in such a worthwhile project; making quilts that were colourful, functional, and a practical aid to the Neonatal unit. Please note it is important to stress that the incubator is empty in the photos.