The idea of a Baby Box is something that has been in the news a lot lately, but the concept has been around for 75 years.
The Finnish baby box has been around since the 1930s, created by the government to combat infant mortality rates, which at the time was a rising issue. Along with many necessary items for new babies such as clothing and bedding, the box also came with a mattress and could be used as a sleep surface, which helped to ensure safe sleep and significantly reduced the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Fast forward to the present day, and the baby box has become a tradition in Finland.
While the idea of a baby sleeping in a box might not sound like the most practical idea in Canada, the idea of providing a ‘welcome basket’ to new mothers is something that was identified as a potential prototype for The Winnipeg Boldness Project to explore that could help to enhance a baby’s first year of life.
After much research around the idea, the project has begun a small scale prototype for the baby basket in partnership with the North End Women’s Centre. Rather than preparing a standard basket with the same contents each time, our version of the basket offers customization options, so that mothers can pick and choose what they would like to receive up to a certain value. This provides a component of self-determination and ensures that the family receives exactly what they need.
So far, North End Women’s Centre has received 16 orders from families already engaged in services provided by partner agencies, and we anticipate that another 15 or so will be received before the end of the prototype. With the data and feedback received through this process further recommendations can be made in terms of scaling up these activities and looking for possible outlets to embed this program for sustainability.
Further updates about the baby basket prototype are to come, so make sure to check our blog regularly for posts about this and other areas of The Winnipeg Boldness Project!