Everything you need to know about Scotland’s Baby Box
Since August 2017, the Scottish Government has been sending expectant parents like me a Baby Box, which is full of loads of useful stuff to get you through those first few months.
What do you actually get in the Baby Box?
- Scratch mittens
- Newborn short-sleeved vest
- Newborn long-sleeved vest
- Long-sleeved side-buttoning vest, 0-3 months
- Cotton hat, 0-3 months
- Long-sleeved vest, 0-3 months
- Long-sleeved sleepsuit, 0-3 months
- Trousers, 0-3 months
- Socks, 0-3 months
- All-in-one daysuit, 3-6 months
- Trousers, 3-6 months
- Long-sleeved sleepsuit, 3-6 months
- Socks, 3-6 months
- Fleece jacket with hood, 3-6 months
- Sling wrap
- Hooded bath towel
- Digital ear thermometer
- Bath sponge
- Bath and room thermometer
- Teething ring
- Baby books (2)
- Play mat
- Emery boards
- Dribble bib
- Muslin squares
- Comforter toy
- Travel changing mat
- Nursing pads
- Maternity towels
- Mattress to fit your baby box
- Mattress protector
- Fitted sheet
Wait, a mattress? Can babies actually sleep in this box?
Apparently, yes. The government claims that the box meets all relevant safety standards, but some safe sleep experts say that you should only use the box as a baby bed if you don’t have access to a crib or a cot.
I’m planning to buy an actual cot for my baby, because I didn’t have enough foresight to keep the Moses basket I used for my first daughter, and, despite the government’s claims, I’m not 100% sold on the idea of my kid sleeping in a box on the floor. That being said, it could be useful for daytime naps – if I’m lucky enough to get my baby to nap anywhere except on me. Which, given my previous baby experience, seems unlikely.
And did you say something about condoms?
Yup. It’s the government’s way of saying, “Congratulations on your little miracle! Now don’t make another one anytime soon. We’re not made of Baby Boxes, you know.”
Why is the government doing this?
The Scottish Government wants every child in Scotland to have an equal start in life. While it’s going take a lot more than a box with some baby bits in it to achieve that, it’s hard to argue that it’s not a nice gesture, and that the box isn’t a step in the right direction.
Regardless of your economic status or ethnic background, your baby is still going to be wearing the same Baby Box issued gender-neutral bodysuit as the baby down the street. There’s something quite nice about that.
How do you get a Baby Box?
When you’re 20-24 weeks pregnant, your midwife will give you a Baby Box registration card at your antenatal appointment. Just send it off and your Baby Box will arrive at least four weeks before your due date. Easy peasy.
What if you’ve already had a child?
Every new baby is entitled to their own box, even if you’ve already had another baby. But if you already have some of the items in your box, you can donate what you don’t need to charity – or just not claim the box at all.
What are the most useful things in the box?
If you’re a first-time parent starting from scratch, the sling wrap could be a lifesaver. I would never have been able to cook or clean during those newborn months if I hadn’t been able to strap my baby to my body. You’ll get a lot of use out of that digital thermometer too.
For me, the most useful things in the box are the things that I got rid of after my first baby and totally forgot that I needed, like a room thermometer, play mat and scratch mittens. How could I have forgotten how razor sharp those baby claws are?
Anything else I should know?
The black and white design on the Baby Box can be coloured in, which is a great way to help any older children get involved in preparing for the new baby. Plus it’s ginormous, so colouring it keeps them occupied for AGES. My box is looking less than pristine now that my three-year-old has attacked it with her crayons, but when you’re super pregnant, a few hours of quiet entertainment is worth more than pretty much anything.