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Baby Boxes for Every Baby

Newsdate: 21 March 2017 Baby Box Launch

Nearly two hundred new and expectant mums attending the Baby Box launch event today.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust held the event to promote the launch of the first Baby Box programme in the Greater Manchester area. Families of all babies born at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, as well as babies delivered at home by the Trust’s midwives, were invited to receive a Baby Box for newborns to sleep in, free of charge. It is hoped that the Baby Box programme will encourage early engagement with maternity services and access to care for all pregnant women across the Wigan borough.

Baby Box Launch

The initiative came to light through a Quality Champion project run by Louise Huxley, Midwife, Jacki Mansfield, Clinical Audit Coordinator and Lynne Atherton, Health and Safety Manager. Their ambition was to reduce the number of sudden unexpected infant deaths in the Wigan locality by up to 50% a year.

Pauline Law, Director of Nursing said of the initiative, “We know just how important baby’s health and wellbeing is to parents. The Baby Box is a wonderfully simple alternative to a Moses basket, which ensures baby sleeps safely for their first 6 months. The use of the boxes has been proven to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and we are hoping that we can replicate these results within the Wigan borough.”

The concept for this project was born from the Baby Box programme that originated in Finland in 1938. They found that if they supplied new mothers with sturdy boxes equipped with a fitted mattress that allowed the box to be turned into a cot, the infant mortality rate began to drop dramatically. This is based on the fact that one of the best places for a newborn to sleep in the first few months of life is in the same bedroom as their parents, but not the same bed. By providing parents with a safe bed for baby to sleep in, they can have the newborn with them during the night without the risks involved with bed sharing. 

The Baby Boxes, which are made from a very thick cardboard and come with a firm foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover and a cotton sheet, are traditionally used in Finland as a baby’s bed for up to the first eight months of their life. Replacing the need for a traditional Moses basket or cot, it is thought the small size of the Baby Box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies, which experts think can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.Baby Box Launch

The WWL team felt that the Baby Box concept could really work in Wigan and with the support of WWL executives, got into contact with The Baby Box Co. who specialise in thoughtful Baby Box program implementation. The company very generously offered to provide the team with free Baby Boxes as long as their distribution was tied to parenting education. Families receiving a Baby Box will have access to the Baby Box University, a comprehensive maternal and childcare education platform, available from pregnancy onwards. The Baby Box Co. strongly believes that it is the education component of universal Baby Box initiatives which correlates to improved health outcomes.

The Baby Box University enables the team to fulfil their wish of having all new and expectant parents educated about the Baby Boxes and correct sleeping and feeding practices for newborns.

Of the project Katheryn Ashton said, “We are aiming to encourage every new mother in the Wigan Borough to sign up for the Baby Box University and receive a Baby Box. This will enable us to help educate new parents on important safe sleep practices and breastfeeding and feeding techniques.”

Jennifer Clary, the CEO from The Baby Box Company, which is supplying the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships for participating parents said, “We are delighted to continue the expansion of the Baby Box and Baby Box University programme within the NHS in the Wigan borough.”

Baby Boxes are being distributed through the Start Well Centres found throughout the Borough.