Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
GARMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/203259
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a garment for skin to skin care of an infant. The garment has a tubular body including a front pouch for receiving an infant, a back panel and a pair of side panels. At least one panel of the pair of side panels is configured to expand.

More Like This:
Inventors:
GRIFFITHS, Sheila (Birmingham City University, University House15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham West Midlands B5 5JU, B5 5JU, GB)
MING, Jade (Birmingham City University, University House15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham West Midlands B5 5JU, B5 5JU, GB)
MCINTYRE, Helen (Birmingham City University, University House15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham West Midlands B5 5JU, B5 5JU, GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/051478
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 25, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY (University House, 15 Bartholomew Row, Birmingham West Midlands B5 5JU, B5 5JU, GB)
International Classes:
A41D1/20; A47D13/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WITHERS & ROGERS LLP (4More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU, London SE1 2AU, SE1 2AU, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A garment for skin to skin care of an infant, the garment having a tubular body including a front pouch for receiving an infant, a back panel and a pair of side panels, wherein at least one panel of the pair of side panels is configured to expand.

2. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the at least one side panel of the pair of side panels includes a shirred portion. 3. A garment according to claim 2, wherein the shirred portion includes at least two rows of gathered stitches.

4. A garment according to claim 3, wherein the at least two rows of gathered stitches are separated by at least 0.5 mm.

5. A garment according to claim 3 or claim 4, wherein the at least two rows of gathered stitches are separated by less than 1 mm.

6. A garment according to any of claims 2 to 5, wherein the shirred portion is a first shirred portion and the at least one side panel includes a second shirred portion.

7. A garment according to claim 6, wherein the second shirred portion includes at least two rows of gathered stitches. 8. A garment according to claim 3, wherein the at least two rows of gathered stitches of the second shirred portion are separated by at least 10 mm.

9. A garment according to claim 7 or claim 8, wherein the at least two rows of gathered stitches of the second shirred portion are separated by less than 15 mm.

10. A garment according to any of claims 6 to 9, wherein the at least one side panel includes a third shirred portion.

11. A garment according to claim 10, wherein the third shirred portion includes at least two rows of gathered stitches.

12. A garment according to claim 11, wherein the at least two rows of gathered stitches of the third shirred portion are separated by at least 0.5 mm.

13. A garment according to claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the at least two rows of gathered stitches of the third shirred portion are separated by less than 1 mm. 14. A garment according to any of claims 10 to 13, wherein the second shirred portion is positioned between the first shirred portion and the second shirred portion on the at least one side panel of the pair of side panels.

15. A garment according to any preceding claim, wherein the front pouch includes a plurality of pleats.

16. A garment according to claim 15, wherein the plurality of pleats extend in a direction that is transverse to the length of the garment. 17. A garment according to claim 15 or claim 16, wherein the plurality of pleats extend from a first side of the front pouch.

18. A garment according to claim 17, wherein the plurality of pleats extend from the first side of the front pouch and the second side of the front pouch.

19. A garment according to any of claims 15 to 18, wherein each pleat of the plurality of pleats is at least 0.5 cm in length.

20. A garment according to claim 19, wherein each pleat of the plurality of pleats is less than 2 cm in length.

21. A garment according to claim 20, wherein each pleat of the plurality of pleats is less than 1.5 cm in length.

22. A garment according to any preceding claim, wherein the front pouch includes a plurality of gathered stitches adjacent a lower edge of the front pouch.

23. A garment according to claim 22, wherein the plurality of gathered stitches form a support for supporting the feet or legs of an infant.

24. A garment according to any preceding claim, further including a skirt portion that is secured to a lower edge of the tubular body. 25. A garment according to claim 24, further including a strap that extends around at least a portion of the garment, the strap being positioned adjacent to the lower edge of the tubular body.

26. A garment according to any preceding claim, further including a strap that extends from the back panel to the front pouch.

27. A method of making a garment for skin to skin care of an infant, the method including:

(a) shirring a portion of a first side panel; and

(b) securing a front pouch and a back panel to each of the first side panel and a second side panel to forming a tubular body.

28. A method of making a garment according to claim 27, wherein in step (a) a portion of the second side panel is shirred.

29. A method of making a garment according to claim 27 or claim 28, wherein in step (a) a plurality of pleats are formed in the front pouch, the plurality of pleats extending in a direction that is transverse to the length of the front pouch. 30. A method of making a garment according to any of claims 27 to 29, wherein in step (a) a plurality of gathered stitches are formed adjacent to a lower edge of the front pouch.

Description:
Garment

The present invention relates to a garment. More specifically, the present invention relates to a garment for skin to skin care of an infant, in particular an undergarment for skin to skin care of an infant.

There are numerous benefits of prolonged skin to skin contact between an infant and a parent or carer, including maternal, paternal and neonatal physiological responses and enhanced infant neurodevelopment. This method of caring for infants is recommended by the World Health Organisation and the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.

Slings or carriers for supporting infants in skin to skin contact with a parent or carer are known. Such slings or carriers include lengths of fabric that are wrapped around the infant and the parent or carer and fastened to hold the infant in place. The fastening may include knots, which need to be tied securely enough to support the weight of an infant, but not so tight that an infant, parent or carer are uncomfortable or find breathing difficult. Alternative fastenings include buttons, hook and loop fasteners or pins, which may be awkward to handle and/or not secure enough to support the weight of an infant in the sling.

Garments in which infants can be supported in skin to skin contact with a parent or carer have been designed. Such garments are, like ordinary clothing, made in specific sizes and so are not suitable for all sizes. Wrap around panels or straps are employed to make such garments adjustable; however, they suffer the disadvantage that they are awkward to fit and/or may not be secure enough to support the weight of an infant.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a garment for skin to skin care of an infant, the garment having a tubular body including a front pouch for receiving an infant, a back panel and a pair of side panels, wherein at least one panel of the pair of side panels is configured to expand. The garment is advantageous as it is suitable for users of different sizes and is not awkward to fit. The garment has the required tensile strength to support the weight of an infant as well as providing sufficient space for an infant to breathe comfortably and look at a parent or carer's face. The design of the garment also facilitates discrete feeding of an infant by a mother.

The at least one side panel of the pair of side panels may include a shirred portion, for example a shirred portion including at least two rows of gathered stitches. The at least two rows of gathered stitches may be separated by at least 0.5 mm. The at least two rows of gathered stitches may be separated by less than 1 mm, preferably less than 0.9 mm. The shirred portion allows the garment to be suitable for use over a period of time, for example 6 weeks, during changes in size and shape of the infant and the user.

The shirred portion may be a first shirred portion and the at least one side panel may include a second shirred portion. The second shirred portion may include at least two rows of gathered stitches. The at least two rows of gathered stitches of the second shirred portion may be separated by at least 10 mm. The at least two rows of gathered stitches of the second shirred portion may be separated by less than 15 mm. The at least one side panel may include a third shirred portion. The third shirred portion may include at least two rows of gathered stitches. The at least two rows of gathered stitches of the third shirred portion may be separated by at least 0.5 mm. The at least two rows of gathered stitches of the third shirred portion are separated by less than 1 mm, preferably less than 0.9 mm.

The second shirred portion may be positioned between the first shirred portion and the second shirred portion on the at least one side panel of the pair of side panels.

The front pouch may include a plurality of pleats. The plurality of pleats may extend in a direction that is transverse to the length of the garment. The plurality of pleats may extend from a first side of the front pouch. Alternatively, the plurality of pleats may extend from the first side of the front pouch and the second side of the front pouch. Each pleat of the plurality of pleats may be at least 0.5 cm in length. Each pleat of the plurality of pleats may be less than 2 cm in length, preferably less than 1.5 cm in length.

The front pouch may include a plurality of gathered stitches adjacent a lower edge of the front pouch. The plurality of gathered stitches may form a support for supporting the feet or legs of an infant.

The garment may further include a skirt portion that is secured to a lower edge of the tubular body. The skirt portion may equally be an extension of the material of the tubular body. The skirt portion may be a continuous unitary piece with the tubular body.

The garment may further include a strap that extends around at least a portion of the garment, the strap being positioned adjacent to the lower edge of the tubular body. This configuration has the advantage of allowing the weight of a growing infant to be supported.

The garment may further include a strap that extends from the back panel to the front pouch.

The garment may further include a detachable strap. One or more loops may be provided to receive the detachable strap. The detachable strap offers the additional advantage of providing support for the infant when the ends of the detachable strap are secured through the loops. The detachable strap has the further advantage of providing a load-bearing support which is adjustable in length. This allows the garment to be suitable for different users, and suitable for adjustment when the user or baby changes shape or weight. The detachable strap also has the advantage of allowing the user to change the length of load-bearing portion of the strap depending on whether they are standing, sitting or lying down. The adjustable length of the load-bearing portion of the strap has the added advantage of preventing weight from being carried on the neck of the user, and allowing the user to choose where the weight of the baby is carried by the shoulders (i.e. closer to or further away from the neck of the user). This improves the comfort to the user, whilst ensuring the baby is fully supported. Additional advantages of providing a detachable strap include the provision of an adjustable support without the need to use potentially dangerous or abrasive fixing components proximate the infant, such as buttons, clips, buckles or Velcro®. Such dangerous or abrasive fixings are significant hazards when the garment is used for an early preterm or late preterm infant. The detachable strap also has the advantage of providing support whilst allowing the garment to be durable, particularly given the requirement to wash the garment frequently. According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of making a garment for skin to skin care of an infant, the method including:

(a) shirring a portion of a first side panel; and

(b) securing a front pouch and a back panel to each of the first side panel and a second side panel to forming a tubular body.

In step (a), the method may include shirring a portion of the second side panel. Additionally or alternatively, in step (a) a plurality of pleats may be formed in the front pouch, the plurality of pleats extending in a direction that is transverse to the length of the front pouch. A plurality of gathered stitches may be formed adjacent to a lower edge of the front pouch to form a support for the legs or feet of an infant in the garment.

An embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures in which:

Figure 1 is a front view of a garment according to the present invention;

Figure 2 is a back view of the garment of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a front view of the pouch of the garment of Figure 1 ; Figure 4 is a side view of the garment of Figure 1 ; Figure 5 is an inside view of the garment of Figure 1 ; Figure 6 is a front view of an early preterm garment;

Figure 7 is a back view of the early preterm garment of Figure 6; Figure 8 is a front view of a late preterm garment; Figure 9 is a back view of the late preterm garment of Figure 8; Figure 10 is a front view of a male garment; and Figure 11 is a back view of the male garment of Figure 10

Referring now to Figures 1 and 2, there is a garment 10. The garment 10 is configured to support a baby, for example a baby with a weight of 3.5 kg. The garment includes an upper portion, or bodice, 12 and a lower portion, or skirt, 14. The bodice 12 has a back panel 16, a pair of side panels 18, 20 and a front pouch portion 22.

The back panel 16 is generally quadrilateral having an upper edge 16a, a lower edge 16b and a pair of side edges 16c, 16d.

The back panel 16 is made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such as cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity.

The back panel 16 has an upper band 24 and a lower band 26. The upper band 24 and the lower band 26 extend in a direction that is transverse to the length of the back panel 16 and form the upper edge 16a and lower edge 16b of the back panel 16, respectively. The upper band 24 and the lower band 26 are made from a synthetic material, for example a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the upper band 24 and the lower band 26 with stretch properties or elasticity.

The upper band 24 includes a loop 32 and a strap 34. The loop 32 and the strap 34 are made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such a cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity.

The lower band 26 includes a pair of side straps 28, 30. The pair of side straps 28, 30 are made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such a cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity.

The side panel 18 includes an upper portion 36, a middle portion 38 and a lower portion 40, as shown in Figure 4. The side panel 18 is generally rectangular in shape and has an upper edge 18a, a lower edge 18b, and a pair of side edges 18c, 18d.

The upper portion 36 includes stitching, for example shirring or smocking (i.e. rows of gathered stitches), 42a, 42b, 42c, 44a, 44b, 44c, 46a, 46b, 46c, 48a, 48b, 48c that extends between the pair of side edges 18c, 18d in a direction that is transverse to the length of the side panel 18. Adjacent lengths of stitching in the upper portion 36 are separated by approximately 0.5 mm to 0.8 mm.

The middle portion 38 includes stitching, for example shirring or smocking, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 that extends between the pair of side edges 18c, 18d in a direction that is transverse to the length of the side panel 18 and generally parallel to the stitching 42a, 42b, 42c, 44a, 44b, 44c, 46a, 46b, 46c, 48a, 48b, 48c of the upper portion 36. Adjacent lengths of stitching in the middle portion 38 are separated by approximately 10 mm to 12 mm. The lower portion 40 includes stitching, for example shirring or smocking, 62a, 62b, 64a, 64b, 66a, 66b, 68a, 68b that extends between the pair of side edges 18c, 18d in a direction that is transverse to the length of the side panel generally parallel to the stitching 42a, 42b, 42c, 44a, 44b, 44c, 46a, 46b, 46c, 48a, 48b, 48c of the upper portion 36. Adjacent lengths of stitching in the lower portion 40 are separated by approximately 0.5 mm to 0.8 mm.

The side panel 18 includes a loop 76.

The side panel 18 is made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such a cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity. The stitching 42a, 42b, 42c, 44a, 44b, 44c, 46a, 46b, 46c, 48a, 48b, 48c, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62a, 62b, 64a, 64b, 66a, 66b, 68a, 68b is made from a synthetic material, for example a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the stitching with stretch properties or elasticity. The loop 76 is also made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such a cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity.

The side panel 20 has the same structure as the side panel 18, with an upper portion 70, a middle portion 72 and a lower portion 74. The side panel 20 is generally rectangular in shape and has an upper edge 20a, a lower edge 20b, and a pair of side edges 20c, 20d. Each of the upper portion 70, the middle portion 72 and the lower portion 74 of the side panel 20 has stitching as described in relation to the side panel 18. The side panel 20 also includes a loop 78. In the same way as the side panel 18, the side panel 20 and the loop 78 are made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such as cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity. The stitching is made from a synthetic material, for example a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the stitching with stretch properties or elasticity. The pouch portion 22 will now be described with particular reference to Figure 3. The pouch portion 22 is generally rectangular in shape, having an upper edge 80, a pair of side edges 82, 84 and a lower edge 86. Each of the upper edge 80 and the lower edge 86 are 'LP shaped. The pouch portion 22 includes a plurality of stitched pleats 88 that extend towards the centre of the pouch portion 22 from the side edge 82 in a direction that is transverse to the length of the pouch portion 22. Each pleat 88 is approximately 1 cm in length and is separated from adjacent pleat(s) 88 by approximately 1 cm. Similarly, the pouch portion 22 includes a plurality of stitched pleats 90 that extend towards the centre of the pouch portion 22 from the side edge 84 in a direction that is transverse to the length of the pouch portion 22. Each pleat 90 is approximately 1 cm in length and is separated from adjacent pleat(s) 90 by approximately 1 cm. The pouch portion 22 includes stitching 92 that extends towards the centre of the pouch portion 22 from the lower edge 86 of the pouch portion 22.

The pouch portion 22 is made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such as cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The natural material provides a soft finish and is breathable. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity. The combination of natural and synthetic material provides suitable heat conduction properties, preventing overheating of the infant.

The bodice 12 has an inner lining 94 which is positioned on an inner surface of the side panel 20 and will be described with particular reference to Figure 5. The inner lining 94 includes an upper lining 96, a middle lining 98 and a lower lining 100.

The upper lining 96 and the middle lining 98 are positioned on an inner surface of the garment adjacent to the upper portions 70 and middle portions 72 of the side panel 20. A portion 102 of the middle lining 98 overlaps a portion of the upper lining 96 to form a pocket into which nursing pads may be inserted. The upper lining 96 and the middle lining 98 are made from a mesh material including a synthetic material, for example a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The lower lining 100 is positioned on an inner surface of the garment adjacent to the lower portion 74 of the side panel 20.

The lower lining 100 is made from a knit fabric, for example a knit fabric including a natural material such a cotton and/or bamboo and a synthetic material such as a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane. The synthetic material provides the knit fabric with stretch properties or elasticity.

The bodice 12 also includes an inner lining (not shown) which is positioned on an inner surface of the side panel 18 and has an upper lining, a middle lining and a lower lining that are the same as the upper lining 96, the middle lining 98 and the lower lining 100 of the inner lining 94.

Manufacture of the garment 10 will now be described. The back panel 16 of the garment is made as follows. The upper band 24 and the lower band 26 are formed in the back panel 16 by stitching a length of a synthetic material that includes a copolymer of polyester and polyurethane across the upper edge 16a and the lower edge 16b, respectively of the back panel 16. A loop 32 of a knit fabric is stitched to an inner surface of the upper band 24 adjacent to the centre of the upper edge 16a of the back panel 16. The side strap 28 is stitched to a first end of the lower band 24 on the side edge 16d of the back panel 16 and the side strap 30 is stitched to a second end that is opposite to the first end of the lower band 24 on the side edge 16c of the back panel 16. The side panel 18 is made by stitching the shirring across the width of the side panel 18 as described above. In this way the material or fabric of the side panel 18 is gathered and creases 19 that extend in a direction that is generally parallel to the length of the side panel 18 are formed. This makes the side panel 18 expandable or adjustable to ensure the garment 10 is securely fastened to a user whilst able to accommodate users of different sizes. A loop 76 of knit fabric is stitched to an inner surface of the side panel 18 on the upper edge 18a of the side panel 18, adjacent to a side edge 18d of the side panel 18. The inner lining (not shown) is positioned on an inner surface of the side panel 18 (as described above) and stitched in position.

The side panel 20 is similarly made by stitching the shirring across the width of the side panel 20 as described above. In this way the material or fabric of the side panel 20 is gathered and creases 21 that extend in a direction that is generally parallel to the length of the side panel 20 are formed. This makes the side panel 20 expandable or adjustable to ensure the garment 10 is securely fitted to a user whilst able to accommodate users of different sizes. A loop 78 of knit fabric is stitched to an inner surface of the side panel 20 on the upper edge 20a of the side panel 20, adjacent to a side edge 20d of the side panel 20. The inner lining 94 is positioned on an inner surface of the side panel 20 (as described above) and stitched in position.

The pouch portion 22 is stitched as described above. In this way the material or fabric of the pouch is gathered and pleated such that the pouch portion 22 is expandable or adjustable to accommodate infants or different sizes and/or an infant as it increases in size, as well as having the required tensile strength to support infants of different weights and/or an infant as it increases in weight.

The bodice 12 is made by stitching the side edge 18c of the side panel 18 to the side edge 16d of the back panel 16. The side panel 20c of the side panel 20 is similarly stitched to the side edge of the back panel 16. The pouch portion 22 is stitched to the bodice 12 such that the side edge 82 of the pouch 22 is stitched to the side edge 18d of the side panel 18 and the side edge 84 of the pouch 22 is stitched to the side edge 20d of the side panel 20. The skirt 14 is an extension from the lower edge 16b of the back panel 16, the lower edge 18b of the side panel 18, the lower edge 86 of the pouch portion 22 and the lower edge 20b of the side panel 20 to form the garment 10 as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Use of the garment 10 in skin to skin care of an infant will now be described.

A parent or carer may put the garment 10 on by passing the garment over their head and sliding the garment over their upper body such that the upper edge 12a of the bodice 12 (formed by the upper edge 18a of the side panel 18, the upper edge 80 of the pouch portion 22 and the upper edge 20a of the side panel 20) covers the chest area of the parent or carer. The expandable side panels 18, 20 allow the garment 10 to fit well on users of different sizes and for the garment 10 to be put on without difficulty. Once in position, the expandable side panels 18, 20 conform to the size and shape of the user.

If required, nursing pads are inserted into the pockets 102 in the inner linings 94 of the side panels 18, 20.

The side straps 28, 30 are tied at the back of the garment 10 in a simple knot or bow. The use of knots removes the need for clips or fastenings that are awkward to connect and disconnect. The side straps 28, 30 can be adjusted as the infant gains weight to ensure that the infant is properly supported.

If the user wants to use the strap 34 for extra support, the strap 34 is passed through the loop 32 on the back panel 16. The two ends of the strap 34 are passed over the user's shoulder and one end 34a of the strap 34 is fastened on the loop 76 on the side panel 18 and the other end 34b of the strap 34 is fastened on the loop 78 on the side panel 20. The ends 34a, 34b of the strap 34 are simply fastened by tying the ends 34a, 34b of the strap 34 in a knot around the loops 76, 78. In this way there is no need to include clips or fastenings that are awkward to connect and disconnect. In addition to providing additional support as an infant increases in size, the strap 34 protects the user's neck.

An infant is lifted into the pouch 22 and is held in place between the user and the garment 10. The shirring on the side panels 18, 20 and the pleats 88, 90 and stitching 92 on the pouch 22 ensure that the pouch 22 has the tensile strength required to support the weight of an infant up to approximately 5 Kg, preferably up to 3.5 Kg. The stretch properties of the material and the shirring on the side panels 18, 20 ensure that the infant and user are comfortable. The stretch properties of the pouch 22 also ensure that the infant can move within the pouch 22 and that the infant can easily be breastfed by a mother while in the pouch 22. In the embodiment described above, the garment 10 includes side straps 28, 30 that are fastened at the back of the garment 10. It will be understood that in alternative embodiments of the invention, the garment may not include side straps 28, 30. In yet further embodiments of the invention, the garment may include side straps that fasten at the front of the garment. In other embodiments of the invention, the garment may include a belt that is passed around the garment to provide additional support to the infant.

In the embodiment described above, the garment 10 includes a strap 34 that passes over the shoulders of a user. It will be understood that in alternative embodiments of the invention, the garment may not include a strap 34. Alternatively, the garment may include two or more straps that are passed over the shoulders of a user.

In the embodiment described above, the strap 34 is fastened on loops 76, 78 on the front of the garment 10. In alternative embodiments, the strap 34 may be attached to the front of the garment and be fastened at the back of the garment.

In the embodiment described above, the straps 28, 30 and the strap 34 are fastened by tying a knot. It will be understood that in alternative embodiments of the invention, the straps 28, 30 and the strap 34 may be fastened by any suitable fastening means, for example a clip or a pin.

In the embodiment described above, the garment 10 includes a skirt 14 that extends from a lower edge of the bodice 12. The skirt portion may equally be an extension of the material of the tubular body. The skirt portion may be a continuous unitary piece with the tubular body. It will be understood that in alternative embodiments of the invention, the garment may not include a skirt. In the embodiment described above, the feet of an infant are supported by the stitching 92 at the lower edge 86 of the pouch 22. It will be understood that in alternative embodiments of the invention, the inner surface of the pouch 22 may include a pocket or envelope in which the feet and/or legs of an infant are supported.

Referring now to Figures 6 and 7, there is an early preterm garment 100. The early preterm garment is configured to support an early preterm baby. In particular, the early preterm garment is configured to support an early preterm baby in the pouch 22 of the early preterm garment when the early preterm garment is worn by the user. An early preterm baby is a term that is understood by the person skilled in the art. An exemplary gestation age of an early preterm baby is 24 weeks, and an exemplary weight of an early preterm baby is 700 grams.

The early preterm garment 100 comprises the same features as those described above in the garment, some of which (upper portion 12, lower portion 14, back panel 16, pouch portion 22, upper band 24, lower band 26, side straps 28, 30 and loops 76, 78) have been labelled with the same reference numerals as corresponding features on the garment 10 for ease of reference. Corresponding reference numerals means that the feature is the same as the feature described in relation to the garment 10, unless specified otherwise.

The early preterm garment 100 has several features which differ slightly from, or are not present in, the garment 10 described above. The early preterm garment 100 differs from the garment 10 described above in that the pouch 22 of the early preterm garment 100 has substantially parallel sides 22b and 22a, as shown in Figure 6. Although the pouch 22 is substantially the same shape as the pouch 22 of the garment 10, the pouch 22 of the early preterm garment 100 is narrower at the top than at the bottom. This has the advantage of being configured to accommodate the knees of the early preterm baby. Typical dimensions of the pouch 22 of the early preterm garment 100 in an un-stretched state are: width (between 22b and 22a) along the top edge of 21.5 cm; length (from the top to the bottom of the pouch 22) of 28 cm; maximum width (between 22b and 22a at the widest point) of 24 cm.

The early preterm garment 100 further differs from the garment 10 described above in that early preterm garment 100 comprises a number of fixing ties 111, for example eight fixing ties 111 as shown in Figure 6. The fixing ties 111 are made from the same material as the strap 34. The fixing ties 111 are elongate, and each fixing tie 111 is attached to the early preterm garment 100 such that a midpoint of the tie 111 is attached to one of the sides 22b, 22a of the pouch 22. The fixing ties 111 each have a length of 11 cm. The fixing ties 111 have seams which are fully enclosed. The fixing ties 111 are attached to the garment 100 such that there is an equal number of ties 111 on each side of the pouch 22. On each side of the pouch, the fixing ties 111 are spaced apart from each other by intervals of 4.5 cm. The early preterm garment 100 differs from the garment 10 described above in that the early preterm garment 100 comprises a front strap 134. The front strap 134 is made from a material which is less flexible than the main body of the early preterm garment. The front strap 134 is made from a double knit cotton jersey. The front strap 134 is substantially the same shape as the strap 34 of the garment. The front strap 134 is longer than the strap 34 of the garment 10. The front strap 134 comprises a number of holes. The holes are slit-shaped. The slit-shaped holes have a length of 1.5 cm. The material surrounding the slit-shaped holes is reinforced with interfacing. The front strap 134 comprises a number of ties 110, for example four ties 110 as shown in Figure 6. The ties 110 are attached to the strap 134.

A section of the length of the front strap 134 is attached to the early preterm garment 100, such that the attached section is aligned with an outer edge of the pouch 22. The attached section extends along a lower edge of the pouch 22. This has the advantage of providing support to the pouch 22 when the early preterm garment 100 is in use. The holes of the front strap 134 are configured to receive corresponding ties 111 on the pouch 22. This enables the user to tie the front strap 134 to the pouch 22 in use, and untie the front strap 134 from the pouch 22 when removal of the preterm baby from the pouch 22 is required. The front strap 134 is configured such that in use, the front strap 134 can pass around the back of the neck of the user, to the front of the early preterm garment 100 and be tied to one of the two loops 76, 78. The ties 110 enable tubes to be secured to the early preterm garment 100, so that fluid, for example oxygen, can be supplied to and/or from the preterm baby.

The early preterm garment 100 also differs from the garment 10 described above in that the early preterm garment 100 comprises a hole or series of holes along a side or sides 22b, 22a of the pouch 22. This has the advantage of providing venous access to the feet and the hands of the preterm baby.

The early preterm garment 100 further differs from the garment 10 described above in that the early preterm garment 100 comprises two loops 116, 118 on the back of the early preterm garment, as opposed to the one loop 32 shown in the garment 10. This has the advantage of providing greater support and reliability of the straps.

The early preterm garment 100 differs from the garment 10 described above in that the side straps 28, 30, are attached to the back panel 16 above the lower band 26. The upper portion 12 of the early preterm garment 100 is shorter than the upper portion 12 of the garment 10. The lower portion 14 of the early preterm garment 100 is longer than the lower portion 14 of the garment 10.

The early preterm garment 100 also comprises a patch 150. The patch 150 is padded. The patch 150 has a body 151, four side ties 152, and two end ties 153. The body 151 is rectangular, the rectangle in plan view defining two sides (longest edges) and two ends (shortest edges). The two sides are 6.5 cm long. The two ends are 4 cm long. Each side of the body 151 has two side ties 152 attached to it. Each end of the body 151 has an end tie 153 attached to it. Each tie 153 is 8 cm long. The patch 150 is configured to be attachable to the front strap 134 of the early preterm garment 100 by means of tying the ties 151, 153 to the front strap 134 of the early preterm garment. The patch 150 is configured to secure tubing, such as ventilation tubing, to the early preterm garment 100. Although the example of an early pre-term baby weighing 700 grams has been given, the early preterm garment 100 may equally be configured to support an early preterm baby weighing more than 700 grams. Although an early preterm garment 100 has been shown in Figures 6 and 7 without a strap 34 or loop 32, the early preterm garment 100 may comprise a strap 34 and loop 32 as described above in relation to the garment 10.

Although a series of slit-shaped holes have been described on the front strap, the front strap 134 could equally comprise a number of ties, for example ribbon ties, in place of the slit-shaped holes. This has the advantage of providing an attachment means which does not reduce the strength of the front strap 134.

Referring now to Figures 8 and 9, there is a late preterm garment 200. The late preterm garment 200 comprises the same features as those described above in the garment 10 and early preterm garment 100, some of which (upper portion 12, lower portion 14, back panel 16, pouch portion 22, upper band 24, lower band 26, side straps 28, 30, loop 32, strap 34 and loops 76, 78) have been labelled with the same reference numerals as corresponding features on the garment 10 and the early preterm garment 100 for ease of reference.

The late preterm garment 200 has several features which differ slightly from, or are not present in, the garment 10 described above. The late preterm garment 200 is configured to support a late preterm baby. In particular, the late preterm garment is configured to support a late preterm baby in the pouch 22 of the late preterm garment 200 when the late preterm garment 200 is worn by the user. A late preterm baby is a term that is understood by the person skilled in the art. An exemplary gestation age of a late preterm baby is 30 weeks, and an exemplary weight of an early preterm baby is 1600 grams.

The late preterm garment 200 differs from the garment 10 described above in that the late preterm garment has a patch 150. The patch 150 for the late preterm garment is the same as the patch 150 described above for the early preterm garment, in relation to Figure 1.

The late preterm garment 200 also differs from the garment 10 described above in that the side straps 28, 30, are wider than the straps 28, 30, of the garment.

The late preterm garment 200 also differs from the garment 10 described above in that the strap 34 comprises a number of ties 210, for example four ties 210 as shown in Figure 9. The ties 210 are made from the same material as the strap 34. The ties 210 are 8 cm in length. Each tie 210 is attached to the strap 34 at a midpoint of the tie 210. One of the four ties 210 is attached to the strap 34 at 34.5 cm from the end of the strap 34a. Another of the four ties 210 is attached to the strap 34 at 38.5 cm from the end of the strap 34a. Another of the four ties 210 is attached to the strap 34 at 34.5 cm from the end of the strap 34b. Another of the four ties 210 is attached to the strap 34 at 38.5 cm from the end of the strap 34b. The ties 210 are configured to perform a similar function to the ties 110 described above in relation to the early preterm garment 100. The ties 210 enable tubes to be secured to the early preterm garment 100, so that fluid can be supplied to and/or from the late preterm baby. Referring now to Figures 10 and 11, there is a male garment 300. The male garment 300 comprises several features, some of which (pouch portion 22, upper band 24, side straps 28, 30, loop 32, strap 34, loops 76, 78, plurality of stitched pleats 88, 90) have been labelled with the same reference numerals as corresponding features on the garment 10 for ease of reference.

The male garment 300 has several features which differ slightly from, or are not present in, the garment 10 described above. The male garment 300 is configured be worn by a man. The male garment 300 differs from the garment 10 described above in that instead of an upper portion 12 and lower portion 14, there is just one main portion comprising a front panel 330 and back panel 332, shown in Figures 10 and 11 respectively. Front panel 330 comprising pouch 22 is substantially rectangular, and has a first edge 330a and a second edge 330b. Back panel 332 is rectangular, and has a first edge 332a and a second edge 332b. First edge 330a of the front panel 330 is attached to second edge 332b of the back panel 332. Second edge 330b of the front panel 330 is attached to first edge 332a of the back panel 332. Front panel 330 and back panel 332 together form a tubular body of the male garment 300.

Side straps 28, 30 comprise the same material as the front panel 330 and the back panel 332.

The male garment 300 also differs from the garment 10 described above in that the upper band 24 extends along the front panel 330 of the garment 300, such that it meets the pouch 22 (shown at 24a and 24b in Figure 10).

Although the garment 10, early preterm garment 100, late preterm garment 200 and the male garment 300 have been described separately, in terms of how they differ from each other, it will be understood by the person skilled in the art that various features of each garment 10, 100, 200, 300 could be combined. Although a feature may be particularly advantageous in one embodiment given its end use, it will be understood that the advantageous features may be preferable in any of the end uses.