About 12 percent of the babies born in Iowa are premature — “preemies” who enter the world before their mother’s due date. A store in the tiny eastern Iowa town of Masonville is marketing clothes exclusively for those tiny babies. “Molly’s Closet” is a family enterprise. Eleanor Riley says her granddaughter was a preemie who died two years ago at the age six.
“Molly was always just like a newborn baby…mentally she never developed,” Eleanor Riley says. Regular baby clothes don’t fit preemies, and some parents shop in toy stores for clothes that will fit their tiny babies. Molly’s mom, Jill, started Molly’s Closet to provide tiny outfits to the preemies at nearby St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids.
Judy Riley is one of the women who sews the clothing and works in the shop. She says the volume of clothing — and customers — is unexpected. “This turned out way better than we ever expected,” she says. “We didn’t dream we’d have this many.”
The volunteers at Molly’s Closet also made Christmas stockings for all the preemies born during the holiday season at St. Luke’s Hospital. Many parents put their preemies inside the stocking, and take a picture so they can later show the child just how small they were when they entered the world.