In Leicestershire, we have a young parents forum that meets on a regular basis and works on projects that will help other young parents within the county. Over the last few years we’ve worked to develop a range of resources (some of which are included in the baby box!) that we think will give support and encouragement to people who have become mums or dads under the age of 20.
We heard about a project in Finland (click here to read the story on the BBC News website), where every mother is given a box when they are pregnant. Their boxes are designed to be cots, and include a mattress as well as a range of other things to help mums set up in preparation for their baby. The health of mums and babies in Finland has improved since they started giving out the boxes. The forum members weren’t so keen on the idea of giving people a box for their baby to sleep in, but we think that it would be a great idea to give everyone a new mattress for a Moses Basket so that even if they get given a second hand basket or buy one from eBay, they can still have a fresh new mattress for their new baby. We've even been working on some upcycled Moses Baskets to provide some inspiration - watch this space for more details!
We are working with colleagues in maternity and health visiting to make sure that we can identify those people who might like a box and with colleagues in the Early Help team, which includes SureStart Centres, to make sure we get the information that young mums-to-be need for their local area. We hope that everyone who gets a baby box enjoys it and finds its contents helpful. We're going to evaluate the project so that we can decide if it’s a project that has made a difference to people, so someone will be in touch with every mum who has got a box, about 3 months after their baby is born to find out what they think! If you’d like to talk to us before that, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
So.... what's actually in our boxes?
Here's an idea of the contents of our baby boxes...
The box itself is designed as a keepsake box, for keeping cherished keepsakes of pregnancy and a new baby.
Some nappies and babywipes to help mum to get started. We've done some consumer testing of different nappies and wipes, we'll publish the results on the website soon. It's always good to shop around to find the products that work best for you, your budget and your baby.
A new mattress so that the new baby has a fresh new mattress to sleep on. Click here for some ideas for upcycling Moses Baskets - it's a great way to get creative and make something unique and fantastic with a few pounds, some time and a bit of creativity :)
Baby's bath time is a lovely time and we've included some things to help to prepare for baby's bath time. This includes a thermometer to make sure the water is at the right temperature, some flannels, a nail brush, a hooded towel and a bath book to encourage play.
We've also included a muslin cloth - invaluable for keeping shoulders clean when baby is being winded! And a baby blanket for keeping baby warm.
We've included a kit with everything needed to knit a hat and a pair of mittens to go into the hospital bag and have created some links to online knitting tutorials on this website - click here to access the page. Some of the Children's Centres are supporting young mums-to-be to use their knitting kits.
One of the things we've learned from consultations with young parents is that they don't always feel they've received enough information about feeding options at the right time to make a choice about what's right for them. We've included a breastfeeding on the go booklet and a feeding your baby booklet to provide that information. We've also made breastfeeding bracelets which, if mum decides to breastfeed can be used as a reminder on which breast was used last for feeding - you swap the bracelet to the breast you fed from last.
We've also included a little treat for the mum-to-be - some bath bombs, a little chocolate bar and a fridge magnet for baby's scan picture.
So that the mum-to-be in receipt of the box feels prepared for parenthood, and can share information with dad-to-be, we've included some information about becoming a young parent. This includes the Tommy's guide to pregnancy, a copy of the Support Directory for Young Parents & Young Parents-to-be in Leicestershire, the Becoming Parents? leaflet, information about local Sexual Health Services (it's never too early to think about post-birth contraceptive options!), information about local support and copies of dear me, letters to my pregnant self and the good, the bad, the unforgettable (see the projects page for more information).
We hope that our baby box project will encourage young mums-to-be to access some of the fantastic support that's available to them within Leicestershire.