Welcome to UBW and thank you for considering donating to our cause. Below is an overview of what we do, how we do it and how you can help us should you chose to do so.
Please note that every organisation has their own rules and every hospital has their own requests but the following is based upon UBWs own experience as to what our bereavement services need.
UBW specialise in blankets, clothing and cribs for babies who have died during pregnancy, those who have been born sleeping or those who have been born too soon to survive between 8 weeks gestation to the neonatal unit. Along with the practical clothing, we also donate keepsake bags and we also occasionally help other charities to fill their memory boxes, which are in turn donated to hospitals. UBW work alongside not only the hospitals but also mortuaries, funeral directors, hospices and charities within hospitals.
My own son Bobby was born sleeping at 22 weeks in 2009 and he is the reason that UBW exists. I have also had two early losses in 2012 and 2019.
Back then things were very very different to how they are now. He was alive when I arrived at the hospital and I did not expect him to die that day. I was unprepared and had nothing; not even for myself for our stay. Bobby had been dressed in a handmade sewn tabard and wrapped in a green fleece blanket. Both were simple but appreciated. My son had been given dignity and it made our first and only meet, less scary.
DONATING TO BEREAVEMENT SERVICES
We work with UK hospitals and bereavement services in the hope of making the grieving process a little easier on the parents and families of our babies.
We have a central contact at every site who we work closely with. This central person makes contact when items are needed and at times they may have a special request for a certain item or colour. We never send any donations before they have been requested as we do not want them going to waste or left sitting on a shelf in a box.
We have a great relationship with our funeral directors; both locally and nationally. We provide mortuaries with items suitable for babies pre 16 weeks; as some ladies who have sadly had to have an operation to remove baby still have a need to meet their child. UBW do not believe that grief is measured by how far in the pregnancy the Mother was; for every parent is different and every parent should have an option on how they wish to deal with the terrible situation in which they find them self in.
Donating to children’s hospices is one that I am personally very proud to be involved with. Our hospice packs are slightly different from our bereavement packs as they cater for the full term and neonatal baby who has either been stillborn or who has a life limiting condition. The parents have chosen to attend the hospice to have their baby there or to spend its last few days on earth there, so we provide a special pack for both baby and their parents.
ITEMS WHICH WE DONATE TO OUR BEREAVEMENT SERVICES
Pre 18 week gestation:
A4 sized Blankets
Post 18 week gestation:
A3 sized to Full Term sized Blankets
All in One Outfits
Ad Hoc Items:
CLOTHING AND CRIBS
Hats are used on all babies born 16 week and upwards. If knitted or crocheted, they should be soft and stretchy; more so to provide the hospitals with a large range of sizes to choose from but more importantly because all babies heads are very delicate. Bonnets are welcomed but please make sure to add a large length of yarn/ribbon for the tie, as the parents wont want to fiddle with the bow. All hats can be made plain, patterned or embellished and made in any colour apart from red, dark yellow, black or grey. Embellishments can be in any form; button, little animal appliques, gems, shapes, bows etc.
All babies have very delicate skin; especially babies who are born pre 28 weeks. There are many bootie patterns found in Google but we prefer patterns which opens at the heel. This makes placing the bootie on the foot a lot easier for the midwives and the parents. Babies pre 16 weeks will be unable to wear booties so please check the size chart against your preferred pattern before making. Please also use thin yarn for booties or they will be too heavy for the delicate feet. Please consider making matching hat and booties for our packs. All newborn booties must be white or cream for easy matching with our existing gowns.
Gowns, All in Ones, Wraps, Pockets, Cocoons and Cribs:
UBW provide parents with the choice of a crib, gown, angel pocket, wrap, cocoon and all in ones to dress and/or wrap their baby in. The patterns for all of these items can be found on our website. We provide the hospital with a range of neutral gowns so they can be worn on both girls AND boys and be worn from 18 weeks upwards. Our Angel pockets, cocoons, wraps and cribs are designed for babies born below 16 weeks. We ask that the majority are in unisex colours; purples, greens, yellows and whites as many parents will not know the gender of their baby. Please do not use Dark / Bold Colours and Patterns as these will overpower the tiny baby.
We like to match cardigans with our gowns to complete our bereavement packs. Matching cardigans, booties and hat sets would be wonderful as they save us time from finding items which match in tone and pattern. We are thankful for any pastel colour but white or cream are the most needed and most requested by the bereavement services.
Blankets come in a range of sizes but out most needed and requested sizes are that of an A4 piece of paper (12 x 8 inches), Preemie (24 x 16 inches) and Crib (40 x 60 inches). Blankets can be knitted, crochet or sewn, be plain or patterned in a range of pastel or rainbow colours; in 3 or 4 ply or DK wool or using cotton or fleece fabric. Crocheted blankets should have no or very small holes to stop any tiny fingers and toes poking through and being damaged.
HELPING TO FILL OUR KEEPSAKE BAGS AND BLANKET SETS
Our keepsakes are extremely popular with the hospitals and are also sent directly to parents who request them.
If you would like to help fill our keepsake bags and help to complete our wrap packs, we are in need of hats, butterflies and blankets. Please only use the patterns found HERE.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q – What types of wool/material are acceptable?
A – 3 ply, 4 ply and double knit wool, fleece, satin and cotton.
Q – What colours/shades can I use?
A – The most requested colours to come from our bereavement services are; white, cream, peach, very pale yellow and all pastels including, pink, blue, green and purple. Please feel free to use a coordinating colour and shade for the ribbon, buttons and embellishments. Please note that with babies who are born pre 18 weeks it is very difficult to know their gender, so we ask that there are minimal pinks and blues used for these items.
Q – What colours/shades do I not use?
A – Please do not use black, greys and browns for obvious reasons, as well as bright/dark yellows and red. Yellow used as a block colour enhances the redness of the preemie skin, making it look harsher then it is. All style of patterns are accepted but please keep in mind that we want the clothing to enhance the baby; not to overshadowed it.
Q – Do I have to use a pattern on your website or can I use my own?
A – We like to give parents lots of choice as to what they dress their baby in so you are more than welcome to use any pattern that you have or that you find on the web but please do make sure that they fall within our size guide.
Q – Am I able to use Embellishments on my items?
A – Yes! We love embellishments. Buttons, beading, lace, ribbon and purpose built embellishments are all welcomed.
Q – What fastenings can I use on my items?
A – Ribbon is the most popular choice of fastenings although Velcro is most welcomed. Please try to use as thick a ribbon as possible for easier use by those who wear gloves while dressing the babies. Please refrain from using poppers or buttons on babies born under 24 weeks as these require pressure to secure which is not suitable for these babies.
Q – Do you accept Wedding Dresses?
A – We do. To find out more, there is a whole page dedicated to donating your dress and volunteering to become a seamstress on our website.
Q – Do you only donate to babies who have died? What about the neonatal departments?
A – In our experience, thankfully the neonatal departments of the hospitals are often inundated with donations from local groups. All suitable neonatal and newborn sized clothing that we receive, are used in our hospice packs. If we do receive colours or patterns which are not suitable; we store these away until we can fill a box to send to a neonatal unit. Please do have a google for the many preemie groups out there to send your items to.
Q – Do you work with or alongside any charities or other non profits?
A – Yes. We donate blankets and teddies to First Touch which are an inhouse charity based at St Georges in Tooting, London. These donations help to fill memory boxes that First Touch fund for parents whose babies have sadly died within the neonatal unit. We also donate to Bobbys Angel Boxes; who provide memory boxes for living siblings at their local hospital down in Kent. We have also donated a selection of items to Beyond Bea Charity and Remember My Baby who used our clothing for demonstration purposes in their training sessions with hospitals and training photographers. If we can help, we will.
Q – What happens to my items once posted?
A – Your items are delivered to our PO Box address where they are kept safe until they are collected twice monthly. Once they have been collected, they are photographed and uploaded to our website, Instagram and Facebook. All items are put together to form a ‘bereavement pack’ which is stored away in an air tight container until they are packaged up in a big cardboard box and posted to our bereavement services via Royal Mail.
Q – Do I need to wash the items before posting?
A – Due to the nature of the items, there isn’t a need for them to be washed. However, if you do smoke or if you are using old wool which can sometimes smell a little musky, please do so. If your items arrive smelling of smoke or a smell which we can not remove from the fabric, unfortunately we will not be able to use them.
Q – Where do I post the items to?
A – Please post your donations to: PO Box 1302, Crawley RH10 0NU If you live within Crawley, West Sussex please contact us to discuss delivery/collection. Please include a return address on the back of your parcel (incase it does get lost in transit) and please let us know who you are by leaving your name and contact details inside the parcel!