Amanda Huhta’s son was born at 25 weeks and four days and then spent 110 days in the NICU. Needless to say, the outfit she had chosen for her son’s homecoming didn’t exactly work out as planned. During her son’s long hospital stay, Huhta discovered how difficult and expensive it was to find clothes for NICU preemies: her baby weighed just one pound 12 ounces at birth! Realizing how many NICU babies could benefit from shirts that would actually fit them and that were easy to take on and off and maneuver around medically necessary monitors, Huhta decided to take the matter into her own hands. Twenty-Five and Four was founded to provide unique diaper shirts to NICU babies for free, and to give hope to new parents and families who are dealing with long hospital stays.
The one-piece, vest-like shirts come in patterns including animals, footballs, airplanes, and polka dots and are sewn by volunteers after parents give their preferences on styles and materials. While Huhta started this inspiring campaign, she is now joined by helpers in every state as well as in several other countries, who assist in the making and distributing of these little shirts. The entire operation runs on donations and from sales of items in Twenty-Five and Four’s shop, including patterned burp clothes and bibs. The organization also collects and donates books and Beanie Babies, which are used to help safely position little ones in the incubator. Huhta’s former preemie is now a healthy three year-old, and she also has an almost 10 month-old child, but her passion for helping and providing a sense of normalcy to NICU babies and their families continues to thrive.