Earlier this year you may have heard buzz that The Baby Box was coming to Canada. When I first learned of this I was in the thick of newborn baby care with my second child. I was vaguely familiar with the popular Finnish Baby Box so I was glad to learn that new moms in Ontario would also soon be receiving this package to help their new families get started off on the right foot. To be honest, at the time, I was probably most excited about the idea of a package of free baby gear. I’m the mom at the baby shows with a stroller basket stuffed full of any freebie I can get my hands on. I just love trying new products out and - let’s face it - I LOVE free stuff. Who doesn’t? But I digress! Since Pampers, who has partnered with the Baby Box Co. reached out to me to preview a sample version of the Ontario Baby Box I have learned so much more about the history, purpose and impact that the Baby Box can have - and it is so much more than just free stuff!
A little bit of a background on where the idea for The Baby Box came from is helpful to gain an appreciation of how the box itself can impact health outcomes for babies and families. Baby boxes were first distributed to new mothers in Finland. Since the program began in 1938, Finland’s infant mortality rate has dropped from 65 deaths per thousand births to one of the world’s lowest, at 3.3. How does the box do this? The box itself doubles as a bed and mattress for baby providing a safe sleep surface for infants until they grow out of it, ~6-8 months. As in Finland, the box is meant to give all babies an equal start in life regardless of socio-economic status. All expecting and new parents in Ontario will be eligible to receive a Baby Box for free as long as they receive prenatal care and review the Ontario education syllabus created by local healthcare professionals on Baby Box University (you get a free membership inside the box). To me, as a healthcare practitioner, I know first hand that access to information & resources for new parents is key to successful parenting and better outcomes for babies.
So what’s inside the box?
Again, freebie loving side of me couldn’t tear the packing tape off fast enough (don’t you hate that?). First off, the box is super cute. Mine had an adorable owl print that would fit into even the most magazine-worthy nursery decor and is inscribed with the words “Every child matters. Every family matters.” I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more!
Here's what was in the Ontario sample box I received:
2 organic onesies - Adorable.
2 terry cloth bibs - Can’t have enough of these.
1 sleeper - For a newborn you don’t really need too many of these, particularly if you want to get in lots of amazing skin to skin contact in the early days.
Clip on umbrella for sun - What a great idea! Through two kids this is something I never had but wished I did and will now use throughout this summer. The umbrella has an adjustable attachment to clip on to the side of a play yard? lawn chair? stroller? Lots of options for keeping baby out of the sun while enjoying the outdoors.
Earth Mama Angel Baby body wash/shampoo - Love this stuff! All natural ingredient list free of all the things you don’t want on baby’s skin, like parabens, fragrance and chemicals.
Wooden Teething ring - Why give baby plastic at all when you can avoid it? Just because things are labelled BPA free nowadays doesn’t mean sucking on plastic is a great idea.
Thermometer - a nursery essential for assessing & monitoring fevers at home. Fever in young infants (< 2 months) can be a sign something is really wrong and needs medical attention. All parents need a reliable way to assess fever. But once kids are older than 2 months a healthy fever is actually your friend and an important part of your child’s immune system and defence from pathogens
Baby wrap and instructions - SO glad to see this! My absolute favourite carriers for small babies are soft, unstructured carriers like this one. Your baby feels secure and close to you and the wrap provides all the support they need to comfortably stay close to you as you go about your day. Baby wearing is one of the mainstays of Attachment Parenting and can be a lifesaver for parents with a baby who just wants to be held (NEWSFLASH - this is ALL babies, particularly in the “4th trimester”…more on this soon!)
Organic Food pouch - A couple priorities for me when introducing solids are to make homemade food that is natural, healthy and organic. Making your own baby food is actually really easy and you can make a lot in a short amount of time. But I have to say that with baby #2 time is in short supply. These pouches come in super handy at times and on the go. I love that the box is promoting organic, fruit and vegetable based first foods.
Board Book - “Not a Box” by Antoinette Portis, I don’t think they could have found a more perfect baby book to put in here - and it’s award winning! My toddler got his hands on it right away and asked me to read it 4 times in a row. Super cute book about a bunny and his ‘not-a-box’ box which becomes a hot air balloon, spaceship, racecar…etc. Kids seriously do love cardboard boxes. I love the addition of the book to promote both reading to your baby (promote early language skills, bonding, love of learning…etc.) and the encouragement of imaginative play (not screen time)
Pampers Swaddlers and Natural Care Wipes - Best diapers hands down for preventing leaks and keeping baby dry at night. The last thing you need with a new baby is the added stress of leaking diapers. Trust me, you’ll still get your up-to-the-neck blowouts once in a while (this is really a thing), but for every day business you want your diapers to keep the contents in and baby dry and comfortable. As a new parent you’ll also become a bum wiping ninja - babies give you A LOT of practice. Good wipes that hold together and glide easily make this job so much easier.
Sleep Sack and Safe Sleep guidelines - The box is all about safe sleep, so this information is key to helping new parents learn what safe sleep means. Whatever sleep arrangement a parent chooses (crib, bassinette, co-sleeping, bed sharing), there are ways to do it safely. The Sleep Sack is a great way to keep baby warm in bed without the risk of loose blankets coming up over baby’s face and potentially affecting breathing.
New born hat and mittens
Organic eco-friendly diaper
Organic reusable baby wipes - SO soft
Lovey - Also so soft. I have still never quite figured out how to make a lovey work for me. I’ve tried infusing it with my scent by keeping it with me while nursing so that when I transition baby to crib he’ll feel comforted. But so far both my kids seem immune to this approach and always noticed the second I put them down! sigh…
Breastfeeding guide - Breast IS best, we know this. But what many new moms don’t know is that while breastfeeding is natural, it rarely comes naturally to moms. A good guide is a great start, but preparing yourself with go-to resources for getting help and support as soon as baby arrives is key to developing a successful and long term breastfeeding relationship with your baby
Coupons for books, nursing wear
Wet bags for dirty diaper & a carry bag for all these essentials
Oh and a gift card from Baby Box Co. in case you’re missing anything and want to purchase online from their boutique of safe certified baby products
So there you have it! I was really impressed by how many items came in the box. The contents of the box touch on so many areas of baby care and gives parents a great foundation of how to start and hopefully inspires them along these lines to continue. Safe sleep, breastfeeding, baby wearing, natural and organic products are clearly emphasized along with a great selection of useful items. Sample packs, like the Pampers diapers and wipes are full sized which is so helpful for new parents. This is great because if baby arrives before you have everything totally ready, you at the very least have the essentials to get you started.
All in all, as a Naturopathic Doctor and Mom I am a huge fan of the Baby Box! Can’t wait for real moms in Ontario to begin receiving them and for the benefits to our next generation of babies to be realized.
Doctor Jackie's Blog
A place for me to share my own experiences as an ND & Mom, things I find interesting in the world of wellness & medicine, share recipes, health tips and home/DIY self care ideas. Between 2012 & 2016 I got married, moved twice and had two kids! But I'm back and have SO much to share with you now. Becoming a mom has completely changed my world and my practice. Stay tuned for lots more from me :)