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Welcome Wee One
January 2, 2017
This is the title of Jackie Kay's poem which is being included in the new Scottish Baby Box Scheme:
Welcome Wee One
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.
Beautiful words for new parents and a lovely addition to the box. This new scheme is now being rolled out across Scotland after being trialled last year in Clackmannanshire and Orkney and is widely welcomed by the healthcare community and the public. So what do you get for your newborn? Heavily influenced by the Finnish box scheme (which began in 1938, we're a bit late to the party!) the contents are:
Fitted cot sheets
Satin edged cellular blanket
Pramsuit with hood
All-in-one day suit
Romper and bodysuit set
Long-sleeved bodysuit with integral scratch mitten
Long-sleeved wraparound bodysuit
Fleece jacket with hood
Hooded bath towel
Real nappy and liners
Digital ear thermometer and replacement hygiene cover
Natural bath sponge
Bath and room baby thermometer and battery
Organic cotton muslin squares
Comforter / soother toy
PlayTalkRead play mat
PlayTalkRead travel changing mat
The items included provided a basic starter kit for parents and will be particularly useful for lower income families. So what's not to love, what's the catch in this fantastic initiative?
For me, it’s the way in which this box is portrayed as a safer place for babies to sleep than in the parental bed. The Finnish box scheme was credited with reducing the cot death rate from 65 per 1000 babies at its inception in 1938 to 2 per 1000 babies in 2015; however, this statistic has less to do with babies sleeping in a box and more to do with general improvements in sanitation, hygiene, education and maternal health. As Dr Sari Lahti of the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in Finland says:
“A lot of people think babies sleeping in the box was what caused the reduction in babies dying but it wasn’t solely that, it was making mums-to-be attend clinics when they were pregnant to qualify for the maternity allowance which improved the outcomes. The mum’s health is monitored throughout and after the pregnancy which has helped survival rates in infants. Introducing the baby box in Scotland without that qualification would be just a case of giving a nice gift. In terms of helping the health of pregnant women or unborn children it would be worthless.”
The Lullaby Trust advises that babies sleep separately from their parents, but in the same room; however, the Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS) states that:
The most recent UK study (conducted between 2003 and 2006) found that smoking, alcohol use and sofa-sharing explained the risk associated with SIDS deaths that happened when babies were co-sleeping with an adult.
Yes, I’m coming out of the closet as a bedsharing advocate! It’s the most nurturing environment for your baby and vastly increases successful breastfeeding rates. Furthermore, it allows you more sleep, result!
I’ve completed ‘Reduce the Risk of SIDS’, a course run by the Foundation for Infant Loss, and the risk of SIDS is not increased when safe bedsharing practices are followed: both parents are non-smokers, no alcohol or drugs are taken, no medication that causes drowsiness, the mattress is firm and in good condition, and no bedding or pillows near the baby’s face being the main ones.
In conclusion, thank you Scottish Government for these wonderful (FREE) baby boxes, but leave parents to make their own informed choice on where their baby sleeps. (The boxes are ideal for storing toys, books and baby keepsakes btw, just saying…!)