A gift to Whangarei Hospital's Te Kotuku maternity unit means parents of an infant who has died around the time of birth can be with their baby longer.

The Northland couple who gave a CuddleCot, a cooling device that is fitted into a custom-made bassinette, have asked to be known only as the owners of Lakeside Business Park.

Their gift was spurred by several deaths in the donors' own family and also the care one of the donors recently had when hospitalised for a back operation. The couple contacted the maternity manager and asked if Te Kotuku would like one of the cold cot units.

"We were very grateful to take the opportunity to be recipients of their generosity," clinical midwife manager Yvonne Morgan said.


Northland/Whangarei coordinator of pregnancy, baby and infant loss support organisation Sands Sue Farrier helped arrange the purchase of the CuddleCot - a $4700 model imported from the UK. The donation not only helps families within Te Kotuku but also lets the community know about the support services Sands offers, Ms Farrier said.

Sands workers are volunteers rather than counsellors.

"We've all had babies and whanau who have lost babies. Sands bring people together to let them know they're not alone."

Hospitals traditionally have cooled infants who have died with ice allowing only a brief time for parents to be with them. Cooling increases the time families have to bond with their baby, bathe, dress it and take photographs.

The couple who donated the CuddleCot also provided a wicker basket, and a wooden stand was donated by local joiners Regal Plus.