Fleece Scent Circles for Wesley Medical Center

IMG_4077Do you all remember these fleeces circles from an earlier mention in my blog article Double Post Friday?  I had brought home a couple of bags from church that contained hundreds of fleece circles, and ended up sewing-myself-dizzy…  round and round…!  It was actually very, swimmingly, satisfying!  Just now, I wanted to use the adjective spinningly, in order to describe just how satisfying, but spell check doesn’t like that word and doesn’t even recognize it as a word…  I would imagine spinningly to mean “so much fun that it causes you to spin out of control or become dizzy with heartfelt contentment.”  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  I think that this word should adopted into our dictionaries immediately!  Or maybe I should start playing a game of Balderdash this very instant because my off-the-cuff definitions might win a round or two?!?

Back to the topic at hand:  Fleece Scent Circles!!!

What are scent circles?

They are pieces of fleece fabric that are given to a mother, who is in the hospital, who has a baby in the NICU/in an incubator.  The circle is placed on the mother’s skin and left there for 8-10 hours at a time so that it picks up the mother’s “scent.”  The circle is then placed under the newborn’s head so that he/she can smell his/her mother when the mother and baby cannot be together.  The mother’s scent helps her baby to bond with her, feel safe, and even helps with brain development!

According to materials that I received from the Neonatal Nurse Liaison, Sarah M., from Wesley Medical Center:

Exposure of an infant to his/her mother’s scent produces calming, pain-relieving, stimulatory and blissful reactions. It helps sooth crying. Mother’s scent helps the infant in feeding preparation, nipple acceptance, and sucking pattern and ability. Because providing opportunities for exposure to mother’s scent is important, the NSN encourages mother’s to engage in skin to skin with their babies as soon as they are medically ready and provide scent circles to be used by the infant in mother’s absence.   A mother providing breast milk promotes maternal scent as well as other benefits to the infant. Teaching mother about the unique role of maternal scent in sensory development is important. 

How do I make the scent circles?

Materials needed:

  • Good quality fleece (that doesn’t shed a lot).  Choose smaller patterns so that the pattern will be more likely to show up in each circle.  Please don’t use the color red (blood), black, or pea green (vomit).  Use happy colors, traditional pastel baby colors, etc.  Exception to using red – if you’re making KU sports-affiliated circles.  Parents with children in the NICU have competitions going on between KU and K-State scent circles – LOL!
  • Blank CD or DVD to use as a template for the circles
  • Sewing machine with thread
  • Unscented laundry detergent
  • Sandwich baggies

IMG_4840Start by placing a CD/DVD on your fleece – mine is a clear, plastic piece that comes with a regular spindle of CD’s.  Look carefully!  It’s there, camouflaged amidst the monkeys…!

IMG_4844Trace around the CD as many times as possible on your fleece and then cut out your circles.


IMG_4850Using a sewing machine, use a zig zag stitch or some other fancy stitch (if your machine allows) to outline your circle, approximately 1/4″ away from the edge.  This gives each circle a more finished look.  Some parents take their scent circles home as keepsakes, so the finished edge makes the circle look more purposeful, professional, and also helps it to hold up in the laundry a little bit better.

IMG_4858Once finished with all of the cutting and sewing, the circles need to be laundered with unscented detergent, so that the circles are fresh, clean, and ready for the mother’s scent!

IMG_4862Then, package 3 laundered circles per sandwich baggie and seal.

You’re finished!

Wesley Medical Center, a hospital in Wichita, KS, uses hundreds of these scent circles on a weekly basis!!!   They are always looking for volunteers to make the circles and always accepting donations of the circles to their NICU.  This is a great, easy way to help give back to our immediate communities!  It’s amazing sometimes, how simple a project can be, and how much good can come from it!

Much thanks to my girl, Jessica H. for her contact information at Wesley!  Much thanks to Sarah M. for being so informative and welcoming and excited to have new volunteers join her project!

I think that the crafty group I just joined, Crafty Collective is interested in participating in this project, which is why I’ve typed up a quick tutorial.  If there’s anyone else out there who wants to help out???  Please let me know!  I LOVE it that crafters can make a difference!  AWESOMEZZZZ!!!!

And, if one charitable craft project isn’t quite enough for you???  Craft Hope has launched Project 21 – we’re headed to Romania to make winter items (blankets, hats, and scarves).  More on that, from Bolinger Snapshots, soon!

HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY to make Fleece Scent Circles for Babies!!!


About cjbolinger

I am a stay-at-home mother of three children (Ben, Alex, and Christian), a wife who is head-over-heels in love with her husband of 13 years (Gregg), a hobbyist photographer, and a lover of everything crafty! Follow my attempts at domesticity as I cook, clean, and craft for my family...
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6 Responses to Fleece Scent Circles for Wesley Medical Center

  1. abbie berning says:

    I think those monkeys that have two monkeys on them could be or belong to twins how cute, dont you think I think so!!!!!! Fantastic

  2. cjbolinger says:

    Yes, I think those twin sock monkeys would be perfect for twin babies – hope that happens! 🙂

  3. jenny says:

    thank you so much for this post and especially for making the circles. i am on the family advisory council (made of up of those of us that have had babies in the nicu) that helps with these and i also work in the nicu. these scent circles are so important and really give the moms a way to be involved with their baby when they can’t hold them, or be there all the time! thanks again!!!

  4. cjbolinger says:

    It’s my pleasure to help out with the scent circles, Jenny! Thanks for the comment! I also believe that the scent circles are important and a great bonding method for mother and baby. One of my babies was in the NICU for a couple of weeks after her birth (9 years ago) and I would’ve loved for her to have had a scent circle when we weren’t able to be together. I’m glad that current and future mommies have this program available to them! Keep up the good work in the NICU!

  5. Naomi Kuhns says:

    I read your story on Facebook and I have to say it warmed my heart. What a wonderful idea. 12 years ago our granddaughter Sarah was born and spent 13 days in NiCU. Unfortunately we lost our angel, but I know her Mom would have loved the opportunity to have scent circles for her. Thank you for what you do.

    • cjbolinger says:

      Naomi, I’m so sorry to hear that your granddaughter didn’t make it…. Very sad when little ones are called away. Thankfully, she is with the Lord, Our Father! I feel blessed to be able to use crafting (the scent circles) as a way to minister to little ones and to their parents. God bless! Thanks for reading!

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