In Finland every parent receives a baby box, and most babies initially sleep in the box as well. They contain lots of good quality items such as a jauntily printed snowsuit, a toy rabbit, a blanket. The concept behind baby boxes is two-fold. First, in a country that still remembers widespread poverty, it provides every child with the equipment to start life (parents of a second child can request cash instead). Second, it is a constant reminder that all Finns are equal in the eyes of the state. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, you still get the box.
This week, the Scottish government launched Scotland’s version of the baby box. The box contains a similar collection of practical items to the Finnish counterpart, but it has sparked some un-Scandinavian conflict. The three-month pilot began in January 2017 in Clackmannanshire and Orkney, and the Baby Box will be rolled out to all newborns by the summer of 2017. The baby box marks a return to the idea of universal benefits at a time when the debate about benefits could hardly be more divisive.
Some people say it is a costly PR stunt, while self-styled literary critics and certain mothers’ groups alike have questioned the poem included in the box about love for the new child (written by Jackie Kay, Scotland’s Makar, or poet laureate) on the grounds it tells new parents what to think. There has also been rumblings from Labour about a lack of support for Breastfeeding in the pack.
Personally I think the boxes are a good idea, it gives all new babies a great start no matter the finances or social status of the parents. The Poem itself is a nice way to make the box a wee bit Scottish and is a sweet thought.
Welcome Wee One by Jackie Kay
O ma darlin wee one
At last you are here in the wurld
And wi’ aa your wisdom
Your een bricht as the stars,
You’ve filled this hoose with licht,
Yer trusty wee haun, your globe o’ a heid,
My cherished yin, my hert’s ain!
O my darlin wee one
The hale wurld welcomes ye:
The mune glowes; the hearth wairms.
Let your life hae luck, health, charm,
Ye are my bonny blessed bairn,
My small miraculous gift.
I never kent luve like this.
With regards to the lack of Breastfeeding support in the pack I think this is nonsense as all a Breastfeeding mum really needs are her boobs and lots of support – neither of which you will get in a box! A few good nursing bras would help as well but that would never be possible in the box due to the range of sizes required. I think that Breastfeeding mums in Scotland need more support from trained consultants and health visitors as no amount of reading on the subject will prepare you for the reality of nursing a newborn.
What does the Baby Box Contain ?
People have been asking what they will get so after some digging on the Scottish government site I found the following details. I think it will be helpful for mums to be to know what will be included so that they don’t end up with duplicate items. Don’t take my list as gospel though as there may be some changes before the boxes are rolled out to everyone.
Some of the items in the Scottish Baby Box are listed below; clothes come in a range of sizes for newborn, 0-3 months and 3-6 months.
Mattress and fitted cot sheets
Satin edged cellular blanket
Pramsuit with hood
All-in-one day suit, Romper and bodysuit set
Short-sleeved bodysuit and Long-sleeved bodysuit
Long-sleeved bodysuit with integral scratch mitten
Long-sleeved wraparound bodysuit
Footed leggings, Fleece jacket with hood and Jersey trousers
Hooded bath towel
Real nappy and liners
Digital ear thermometer and replacement hygiene cover
Natural bath sponge
Bath and room baby thermometer and battery
Dribbler bib and Organic cotton muslin squares
Comforter / soother toy
PlayTalkRead play mat
PlayTalkRead travel changing mat
So, do I think that all mums need a baby box ? Well not really a need for many but it is a great idea to try and give all babies the same start in life.
We would love to know your thoughts on the baby box, do you think it is a good idea or a waste of tax payers money ?
What would you like to see in your box that isn’t included ?