If the items of the layette can be packaged together (not required), the WC staff in Cameroon would appreciate it.
When available we will add baby hats to each layette as well. These can be knit, crochet, sewn or purchased in 3 to 6 month size.
In a couple of years, the committee in Cameroon will evaluate how these new options are going in Cameroon and for the North American White Cross groups to make adjustments as needed. Thank you for coming along with us as we learn and adjust how we bless mothers in Cameroon!
1) Shopping for Ministry
Do you know someone who likes to find good deals? You could go shopping with them for baby sleepers, diapers, or blankets. With this option, baby layettes can be made by anyone regardless of the group's sewing skills.
2) Sewing Baby Items
There are many footed sleeper patterns with zipper or snaps available on the market. Please feel free to find any that works for you and sew sleepers just like jackets. The sleepers still need to be in either 3-month or 6-month size and marked accordingly.
Please use patterns that are similar to the following. At this time, we do not have a pattern that we can distribute for our ministry purposes.
While the jackets are replaced by sleepers, sleeping sacks, or shirt & pants, other baby items are the same as our traditional layettes.
Please check instructions on fabrics, seams & hems, and sewing on the White Cross Handbook pp. 13-18.
The committee of NAB Field Director in Cameroon, CBCHS staff, mothers, fathers, and many more in Cameroon has evaluated their ministry. As a result of it, they decided to change the contents of the layettes.
In her 2022 newsletter, Maureen Moody (NAB Missionary, acting Field Director in Cameroon) shared a change on our baby layette:
The team [at Mutengene, Cameroon] says a big thank you to all of you who support Cameroon through your generous contributions. It was a super visit to renew acquaintances and establish relationships with the many people who assist in the White Cross work. We discussed the current needs and finalized the changes to the layettes for moms who deliver at CBC hospitals and health centres. We will continue with a baby blanket and diaper but will no longer provide baby jackets. These will be replaced with footed sleepers, which the new moms love. All baby jackets that have been completed will still be sent to Cameroon, and the supply of jackets will be used up, but we ask that no more baby jackets are made. The jackets have been a part of White Cross layettes for decades, but as times and needs change, the baby sleepers are now our way to show love to these new moms.
(Read the rest of the letter here.)
Since the announcement, the committee has considered ways to make layettes more practicable for White Cross groups across North America with different abilities. The 2nd and 3rd option for the new layette was provided out of that discussions. The changes to our baby layettes are led by the team in Cameroon, but also decided in consultation to the White Cross groups across North America in that sense.
We are sincerely grateful for the several decades of baby jacket history and the dedicated sewists from White Cross groups across Canada. The jackets played a vital role in promoting maternal and infant health, and the sewists inspired all of us as we saw them make the jackets out of love. If you know anyone who made the baby jackets, please extend our appreciation to them.
In Cameroon, parents cover their babies' legs and feet when they take them out in public, even in hot climates. The traditional baby jackets are no longer seen as covering babies appropriately. The style is also seen only in the White Cross layettes. By switching to footed sleepers or sets of shirts, pants, and socks/bootie, a layette can clothe a baby fully in a culturally helpful way. The traditional baby jackets have helped many babies and mothers, but the culture in Cameroon changed just like ours has. We are assisting Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services to provide the care the nationals have researched to be the most helpful.
The jackets have been helpful, but mothers in Cameroon prefer footed sleepers as a more helpful option today. We will transition to what they discerned to be more helpful. If you have any jackets that are being made, please finish them and send them. If you have not started cutting fabric, please consider making different items.
Unfortunately, not at this time. Due to the complexity of the footed sleepers, staff at the Sewing Room is not able to add another item to their existing production list. (Did you know that they make uniforms and different hospital linens with industrial sewing machines?) Sleepers are not made domestically in Cameroon either, and mothers will go to their second-hand market to purchase sleepers for their babies. (In Cameroon, the footed baby sleepers are commonly called frog wear. 🐸)
Some of you may remember that White Cross used to assign "quotas" to local groups in the past. However, our primary focus of assisting the CBCHS hospitals is no longer to meet all the supply needs, because the CBCHS and their needs have grown so rapidly. The baby layettes are gifted to newborn babies when available at the hospitals, as needed. Rather, we are focused on participating in what God has been doing in Cameroon and in Canada, with quality in mind. If you can make more, that helps the CBCHS institutions greatly. At the same time, please do not worry about making more by sacrificing the quality of the items and of your time.
The number of births CBCHS has in their institutions is published on their annual reports. Please visit their publications page to look for the numbers.
The good news is that sleepers do not have to be stretchy material - flannel, fleece or cotton is fine. In the same way, sleeping sacks can be in flannel, fleece or cotton. Shirts and pants can be made in non-stretchy fabric too! (See examples in the sample patterns below).
In Cameroon, the majority of the women will be washing all the items by hand and then hang them to dry. Zippers or snaps are ideal in this situation, rather than velcro tapes, buttons, and other closures that are suggested by some of you.