I was recently asked by a reader about preparing for a new baby – specifically, what I thought the ‘must have’ items really are and how much of ‘everything’ was needed. I can remember standing in John Lewis (pregnant with Katie) just overwhelmed with all the decisions. What kind of vests, how many sleep suits, what pram to buy. It was all so intense.
It occurred to me, that with the launch of the Scottish Baby Box that may not be a problem for expecting parents anymore. So, today I’m delighted to share a post by Tricia Murray of Edinburgh Birth and Baby – sharing everything you need to know about the baby box. Congratulations to anyone expecting – I hope you find this post helpful:
Baby Boxes have been landing across Scotland for all new parents. We thought you might find it really helpful to know what’s in the box and how it can support you if you are pregnant or thinking about it!
A bit of background
The Scottish Government Baby Box scheme is universally available for all parents-to-be. It is a beautifully presented cardboard box filled with all the essentials for the first few months. The box itself can be used as a safe sleep space for your baby.
The aim of the scheme is to ensure that every single baby in Scotland has an equal start to life and has all the things that it will need.
A pilot was carried out earlier this year and the feedback was taken into account such as the removal of the reusable nappy, improvement in the quality of some of the items and reduction the number of baby items given.
There are a number of controversial issues with the box – such as not all parents need them but are given them, the financial burden of the scheme and taking away funds from other much needed services, and that there’s little evidence that the box will reduce SIDS.
It is clear though, that the scheme is really intended to address the financial hardship for many families, support families build positive bonds with their babies and look at long term health and emotional benefits.
We were lucky enough at Edinburgh Birth and Baby to get a look at one of the boxes and review this for the Scottish Government.
Our overall first impressions were WOW – this is amazing. And literally what a difference this is going to make to so many of the families we work with.
The quality and number of the clothes were excellent – you’d have enough clothes for a 2-3 day turn around. There were also gorgeous muslin squares (totally essential item for me with my three), a lovely jacket and blanket. Included was a colourful play mat, some books and toys and other essentials (thermometer, maternity pads, breast pads and condoms!).
What I loved most
By far, what I loved most was the baby carrier. I am hugely passionate about baby carrying and as such, what I think the baby carrier will do is it will encourage people who never even considered carrying their baby to try it out.
What we know is that babies who are carried is that they cry less, develop stronger attachment with their parents and it can decrease the impact of postnatal depression.
Isn’t it amazing that every single family in Scotland will have one!!!! I think for that alone the scheme is amazing.
If you’d like help to know how to use the carrier, then we have created two short demos helping you with a newborn and then with a 7-month old:
I also loved the actual box – so older children can decorate it or later on, you could decide to let your baby colour in their own box. I also thought it would be a lovely place to store all those baby items that you’d like to keep – I know personally mine are in a mixture of bags and boxes up in the attic all over the place. It would be lovely to have everything special in one place.
There’s also some really helpful leaflets and support in the box itself which is great.
There’s a full list of items on the Scottish Government website or else you can see us at Edinburgh Birth and Baby doing a review to get an idea of all the items we uncovered:
Feedback from local mums
“The baby box has been fantastic, a great resource and loving all the suggestions to help Mammy & baby play and interact in so many ways. Well done Scot Govt, what a great initiative!” Tricia Hardie
“We received our baby box a few weeks before I was due our son in September. Couldn’t believe the amount of stuff within it and the quality of it all. Whilst there’s things we won’t use (which we plan to donate to others that do need them) the clothes – in particular the fleecy jacket have went down a treat with our wee fella! We’ve also made use of the muslins (you can never have enough!), the thermometer, mat and blanket amongst other items.” Ruth Shewan
How do you get a box?
Your midwife will offer you a box in your pregnancy. You need to complete a form and then they will arrange to have it delivered to you around 36 weeks. You will get a text when it’s on its way.
What about if you don’t want the box?
If you don’t want the box then there is no need to apply for it. If there’s items in the box that you feel that you don’t need – then there are drop off points across the city too.
For more information – head over to the Scottish Baby Box scheme.
Guest post: Tricia Murray is a Fertility, Birth and Parenting Coach, EFT Therapist, Doula and Birth Trauma Specialist supporting mums and dads to enjoy birth and early parenting and feel confident and calm throughout. She is Founder of the Birth and Baby Academy, Edinburgh Birth and Baby and Juno Perinatal Mental Health Support.