When Chennai was busy welcoming the new year on Tuesday night, a number of mothers were busy listening to the first cries of their newborns.

On Wednesday morning, it was time to welcome the babies with New Year’s gifts. The Rotary Club of Chennai Presidency presented newborn kits to babies born on New Year’s eve and January 1 at the Government Maternity Hospital, Egmore, and Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children, Triplicane.

S.S. Subramanian, president of Rotary Club of Chennai Presidency, said the baby kits consisted of a bed with pillow and mosquito net, a dress, cap and socks for the baby, a nightdress for the mother and a rattle. The kits — each costing around Rs. 900 — were given to babies born from the midnight of December 31, 2013 to January 1, 2014, he said.

“The kits were presented to 40 babies at Government Maternity Hospital and to 35 babies at Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital. We have kept an outlay of Rs. 1.5 lakh for the kits and will continue to distribute them during Pongal and on Republic Day,” he said.

This was the third year the Rotary Club distributed gifts to newborns on New Year’s, said Mr. Subramanian.

At Government Maternity Hospital, eight babies — five girls and three boys — were born from 12 a.m. to 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday, said hospital staff.

For some expectant mothers, the birth of their children on January 1 was unexpected. B. Jayanthi of Somangalam was expecting to deliver only towards the latter half of January. “The expected date of delivery was January 21. But I went into labour during the early hours of Wednesday and delivered a girl, around 4.30 a.m.,” she said.

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