The Baby Box scheme was originally inspired by the maternity packages the Finnish government has been sending to expectant mothers for 75 years. It is believed that these starter kits have helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates.
Service extended to Canmore
In Canada the kits were initially only available in certain Northern communities, but distribution is now extending across the country. The supply nearest centres to the Bow Valley were in Cochrane and Calgary, so Heather and her colleagues decided to extend the service to Canmore for clients around the area.
To receive a Baby Box, parents register at the Baby Box website, where they complete a brief questionnaire and watch a 15-20 minute educational video about pregnancy and parenting. Once these steps are completed, they can download a registration certificate to take to the Three Sisters Clinic to pick up their box.
Information for new parents
The box also includes membership of Baby Box University. "This website is full of useful information for new parents," says Heather. "Much of the focus is on sleep safety, for example, advising that a baby should sleep alone in the sleeping space, without other people or objects, and always sleep on his or her back. However, the Baby Box University also offers comprehensive material on almost every aspect of pregnancy and parenting, all of it validated by healthcare specialists from across the world."
Heather explains that parents appreciate the Baby Boxes, not only because they avoid the need for investing in a bassinette that might be used for only a short period of time, but they take up little space and discourage co-sleeping. Some mothers use them as an adjunct to a bassinette, perhaps just for the baby's daytime naps. "Of course, we have to assemble the boxes here at the Clinic and that's quite a task," Heather continues, "but our staff have embraced the project and pitched in: we're all passionate about them."
Staff at the Clinic believe that the benefits of the project go beyond receiving the actual boxes and access to Baby Box University. For example, when expectant mothers come to visit the clinic to collect their box, they can ask questions and understand more about the support the clinic and the PCN offer during and after pregnancy. There are plans to include further information leaflets in the boxes about local resources for new families, such as Bow Valley Parent Link, as well as more informal connections in Bow Valley communities.
For more information visit: https://babyboxcanada.org/ and www.babyboxuniversity.com
To contact Three Sisters Obstetrics and Family Medicine Clinic: http://www.threesistersob.com/ Tel: (403) 609-9095
Bow Valley Primary Care Network: www.bowvalleypcn.ca; Tel (403) 675 3000: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org