Hospital Continues Tradition of Sending Babies Home in Christmas Stockings

Two Texas hospitals continued the tradition of sending babies born on or near Christmas home in red and white stockings.

At UT Health East Texas in Tyler, hand-sewn stockings were used, starting on Dec. 1.

“We are so pleased our labor and delivery departments can offer these hand-sewn special keepsakes during the holiday season,” Moody Chisholm, UT Health East Texas CEO, told the Jacksonville Progress.

“These parents already are taking home the best gift possible this season, and we hope this stocking is a fun reminder for years to come of how small their bundle of joy once was.”

Lauren and Kyle Nicholson got the first stocking after welcoming their first child, Hannah Alysce, on Dec. 1.

Lauren Nicholson said they plan on hanging the stocking over the mantel beginning this year and keep it so that their daughter can see how small she was when she was born.

The stockings were hand-sewn by the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with at least 130 sewn and plans to make more.

Methodist Children’s Hospital also gives out handmade stockings for newborns.

The hospital receives the handmade stockings from a volunteer group, Bluebirds of Methodist Hospital, which also supports employees in a myriad of other ways, reported KSAT in 2016.

The Bluebirds said that the days leading up to Christmas are one of their favorite times of year and noted that the tradition at the hospital dates back about 50 years.

The stockings at the hospital are handed out to newborns from Dec. 20 to Dec. 29.

People commenting on a picture of newborns stuffed into stockings on the Bored Panda website shared a few personal stories regarding the stockings.

“When I was born I was born 2 months premature and when my family came to visit me I was wrapped up like this! I was 2 lb. and 11oz,” wrote Kezia Hatch.

“When my youngest daughter was born New Years Day she was wrapped in a white stocking with a red band while the other holiday babies were in red ones. They hung another stocking with the year stenciled on it over the handle,” said Nancy Rigato.

“When my son was born, he was too big to fit in the stocking, so they put a Santa hat on him,” added Dawn Bailey.

Births in the United States

Approximately 3.86 million births took place in 2017 in the United States, according to a report (pdf) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in November 2018. Data was gleaned from birth certificates.

That number was down 2 percent from 2016. Birth rates declined for women 39 or younger but increased for older women.

The birth rate for women in their 20s continued to drop, a trend that started in 2006, and hit a record low for 20- to 24-year-olds, at 71.0 births per 1,000 women.

The rate for women aged 30 to 34 had been increasing in recent years but declined 2 percent from 2016 to 2017, the first decline since 2010. The birth rate for women aged 35 to 39 also declined by 1 percent, the first decline since 2010.

But the birth rate for women aged 40 to 44 was up to 11.6 births per 1,000 women, a 2 percent increase since 2016, and continuing a trend since 1985. Women aged 45 to 49 saw a birth rate of 0.9 births per 1,000 women, a figure unchanged from 2016, but the number of births to women aged 45 and over rose 3 percent from 2016 to 2017.

There were 840 births to women 50 or older, essentially unchanged since the previous year, although the number has been increasing since 1997.

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