Please note, due to infection control processes we are can only accept orange hats as knitted donations. Please contact the maternity unit to enquire about the need for orange hats.

Want to knit a bright orange hat to support our care for newborn babies who need extra help in the first few days of life?

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust is appealing to all you knitters out there to help us to help vulnerable newborn babies across our hospitals.

As part of the 'Keeping mothers & babies together' initiative, our staff came up with the idea of providing bright orange knitted hats for our most vulnerable babies. 

The hat helps our medical teams easily identify the babies who need extra care.  This means that they get timely observations, blood sugar tests and extra support to establish feeding so that mothers and babies can stay together.

New mum Rumana Lasker said: “My newborn daughter got lots of compliments on her quirky orange hat from family and friends.  The system worked really well, she got her hat immediately and had observations and checks regularly. ”

Shanthi Shanmugalingam, a neonatal consultant at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust explained: “The ‘hat risk’ initiative is all about making it easy for our staff to identify those vulnerable babies, for example babies born five to six weeks early, who need extra support with feeding and monitoring on the ward. 

New mum Anika Gondha agreed: “The midwives and all the other staff gave us that special care, anything that we required, the orange hat made a world of difference in our son’s first five days.”

“Families have told us that the orange hat has really helped them understand why their babies need this extra monitoring and that they feel more confident in looking after their baby with the support of staff.”

The idea has proved so successful that we now need more volunteers to help us knit hats for our newborns and have launched our ‘hat risk’ appeal.

So if you knit or know someone who does, get involved in this great cause and knit a bright orange hat for our newborn babies. Every hat helps.

Please send in or drop off your creations to the Royal Free Charity at either the Royal Free Hospital or Barnet Hospital.

You can find the knitting pattern below:

Knitting pattern

  • Use double knitting wool.
  • Using 3.1/4mm (10) needles, cast on 71 stitches and work 8cm (3in) in rib finishing on 2nd row.
  • Change to 4mm (8) needles and work 12 rows in stocking stitch.
  • Shape crown.
  • 1st row K1*sl.1, K1, p.s.s.o. knit five repeat from * to end.
  • 2nd row and every alternate row, purl.
  • 3rd row K1*sl.1, K1, p.s.s.o. knit four repeat from * to end.
  • 5th row K1*sl.1, K1, p.s.s.o. knit three repeat from * to end.
  • 7th row K1*sl.1, K1, p.s.s.o. knit two repeat from * to end.
  • 9th row K1*sl.1, K1, p.s.s.o. knit one repeat from * to end.
  • 11th row K1*sl.1, K1, p.s.s.o. repeat to the end.
  • Break off wool and thread wool through stitches, draw up tight and fasten off.
  • Sew hat up, folding rib in half.

You can use WI premier acrylic yarn orange lot no. 2038 from craft and haberdashery shops.

The colour may vary from batch to batch, but as long as its bright orange, it is fine.

Please send in your creations to Royal Free Hospital or Barnet Hospital delivery suites. 

If you are on X, follow @MumBaby2gether and share your creations online.

Orange hat appeal

Happy knitting!