NICU nurse crochets ugly sweaters for tiny babies

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For the last seven years, neonatal intensive care unit nurse Caitlin Pechin has crocheted tiny, "ugly" Christmas sweaters for the babies in her ward who will soon go home with their families. 

The tiny sweaters are a reminder for their parents of the love and care their babies received while at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Magee-Women's Hospital.

The project has been named Ugly Sweater Cute Baby and it has become one of the hospital's most well-known traditions. 

Parents say the sweaters are a wonderful parting gift for one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Caitlin works with parents and babies who are ending their stay in the NICU.

She learned to crochet from a woman who works in the hospital's gift shop. Through the years she's crocheted hats, booties, and sweaters for the babies.

"It's really rewarding to see how happy the [parents] look when they see their babies in the cute little outfits," Caitlin said.

On the day staff dressed the babies in their sweaters, the hospital's vice president of patient care services dressed up as Santa Claus and the director of human resources played Mrs. Claus.

FOX 13 News reported on this story from Tampa, Florida.