AN INTERNATIONAL effort has helped new-born babies keep warm this Christmas after Ayrshire’s maternity unit received hundreds of knitted hats.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s maternity unit at Crosshouse was overwhelmed with the response to an online appeal on Facebook for knitted hats.

Every new-born baby is given a hat straight after delivery as part of the care bundle that includes skin-to-skin contact and early feeding. This helps maintain the baby’s body temperature and keeps tiny tots safe from becoming hypoglycaemic and ending up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

This year the unit was desperate for hats that would fit full term babies. Kimberly Graham, an Ayrshire Midwife, put the appeal out in November asking local knitters to make hats for babies weighing seven to ten pounds.

They also asked for red hats to help identify those that need extra observation or care. And the rallying cry was answered with donations flooding in from as far as New York City.

Staff have hailed the incredible effort, Kimberly said: “I can’t believe the amazing response we have received; people have been knitting them across the world. I have been sent hats from all over Ayrshire and Scotland, as well as the rest of the UK, and even New York City.

“It’s been incredible. People from all walks of life have knitted for us, including school children, church groups, knitting groups, the Women’s Institute, Ladies of the Rural, coffee groups and the general public. We even had carers bringing in care home residents that wanted to hand deliver their hats.I didn’t expect a response like this to my Facebook post. I thought that my friends and colleagues would share it with their friends and family that could knit.”