Grieving parents will be given the gift of time to bond with and farewell their stillborn babies, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a group of passionate Tauranga women.

About 50 babies are stillborn each year in Tauranga Hospital alone, says Denise Coy, co-ordinator of Sands (pregnancy, baby, and infant loss support) Bay of Plenty.

She says spending time with the baby before it is buried is a vital experience for parents.

Tauranga mother Amy Franz was shocked to hear stories about such parents and the challenges they faced to spend time with their babies while trying to keep their baby's body cold.


"It was definitely a shock. I was so naive. I had a healthy baby. I went in [to hospital] and came out with a baby. You never think about the women who didn't walk out with their baby."

Mrs Franz had the idea of hosting a baby and toddler show as a fundraiser to buy and donate a cuddle cot to the Tauranga Hospital.

The cuddle cot pumps cool water through pipes in a mat under a blanket in a cot, which keeps the body consistently cool and takes away the stress for parents wanting to take their child home for a few days.

Ms Coy said "Moses baskets" with ice packs were provided to parents by the organisation's fundraising. However, a cuddle cot would take away the uncomfortable reality of having to remember to replace the ice packs.

"It's not a nice thing to have to think about," she said.

"The thing about losing a child is that from the time of the birth to the time you bury them is the only time you will ever have with them and make memories with them.

"The nicer we can make that experience the better.

Most hospitals did not have cuddle cots because it was not an "essential" piece of equipment so most of them were the result of fundraising efforts from bereaved parents, seen already in both Christchurch and Rotorua.


Tauranga Hospital Maternity Manager Esther Mackay said the cuddle cot could be a useful addition to their current stillbirth facilities.

"We do use a very similar process where the baby is placed in a wicker bassinette with cold packs placed directly under the blanket in the base. There is no extra equipment or air pump required and this system works very well. The cuddle cot would probably be helpful to parents when taking their baby home."

Ms Mackay said the Bay of Plenty District Health Board had never raised the issue before as the existing system worked very well.

"That said we are of course happy to take a look at this product and see if it can offer anything new to our service."

Mrs Franz has partnered with local photographer Skyla Clifton, Lollipop's Playland Tauranga owner Frances Roberts, and baby consultant Vicki Kirkman. The women will put the show together and raffle off their services to raise the $5000 needed for the cuddle cot.

The baby show will be held at Lollipop's Playland on Wednesday March 25, and all details can be found on the Facebook page, Tauranga Baby and Toddler Show 2015.