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Making a Difference with Wool 

IWTO hosted its first community project at December's Wool Round Table in New Zealand, offering members the opportunity the support New Zealand's Neonatal Trust.

We are happy to report that we were able to deliver a basketful of hand-knitted Merino babywear, most of it for babies no bigger than 2 kg.

One in ten babies are born before full term in New Zealand, more than 5,000 every year. Many more full-term babies require specialist care. The Neonatal Trust supports families through the stress and anxiety of neonatal treatment, as well as neonatal units and staff so that babies receive the best care possible.

IWTO chose the Neonatal Trust because babies love and need wool. Neonatal babies are unable to regulate their body temperature – something even healthy, full-term babies cannot do in the same way as older children and adults.

Yarns made of synthetics and acrylics can trap moisture and cause babies to become cold rather than keeping them dry and warm. Thus the use of wool is key in ensuring that the babies stay warm and snug, enabling them to devote their precious resources to growing and developing.

"Wool is a miracle material," said Neonatal Trust Executive Director Rachel Friend, speaking at IWTO's Wool Round Table in New Zealand.

"We don’t use synthetic or acrylic fabrics for the babies, as these materials cause them to sweat, and as the sweat dies, it makes the babies cold.

"Babies – and especially preemies and new-borns – can’t regulate their own body temperature. And it is crucial that they don’t use up so much important energy trying to stay warm, so the Neonatal Trust uses only wool."

A heartfelt thanks to all who participated.

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