Published on Tuesday 17 October 2017
All new mums living in Wirral are to receive a free Finnish-style Baby Box following a successful pilot.
The initiative, led by the NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Improving Me programme, has been rolled out in Wirral. It will include all new mums in the Merseyside and Cheshire region getting a Baby Box as part of their antenatal maternity care.
Families receiving a Baby Box also become members of the Baby Box University – an online education syllabus providing health advice and support on a wide range of topics, such as breastfeeding, smoking cessation, perinatal mental health and nutrition in pregnancy.
This is supported with antenatal appointments with their midwives and additional sessions through the Baby Box community, which aim to reduce social isolation and provide additional guidance on use of the Baby Box and its resources.
At the first meeting with a midwife, women will be given their card to access the Baby Box University. At around 28 weeks of pregnancy, all women will be invited to collect their Baby Box.
Debbie Edwards, Head of Midwifery at Wirral University Teaching Hospital, said: “The baby boxes are being given out to parents in the community by our Maternity Support Workers and they will be available at designated Children’s Centres. Parents not only receive the baby boxes but towards the end of their pregnancy they receive further information. The boxes are also an engagement tool and offer an opportunity for mums to access further advice as well as online education material.”
Wallasey mum, Natalie Howell, 29, who gave birth to her daughter Molly-Rose Howell in the early hours of Tuesday 3rd October received her baby box this week.
Natalie said: “I think it’s a really useful starting point and it’s good that everyone gets the same. It’s also nice to have the information about new born babies and that will be really helpful.”
Catherine McClennan, Programme Director for the NHS Improving Me programme, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to expand our fantastic Baby Box initiative to all new families in Cheshire and Merseyside. Baby Boxes are a powerful and internationally recognised engagement tool that will help us to reduce health inequalities, increase choice in pregnancy and deliver more person-centred care as part of a maternity package of education and care.”
Simon Banks, Senior Responsible Officer for the NHS Improving Me programme, said: “We have worked closely with local maternity experts to ensure we are providing an offer that supports improved maternity experiences for everyone. The feedback we have received from our pilot in Halton from families and health professionals has been fantastic and we are proud to be rolling the offer out across the region.”
What are Baby Boxes?
First used in Finland in the 1930s, Baby Boxes are used across the globe as an established and recognised maternity engagement tool to support women and families throughout their antenatal and postnatal journey.
In addition to providing a safe space for a new born baby to rest should they need one, Baby Boxes come stocked with ethically sourced ‘starter’ resources – such as nappies, breast pads and items of clothing – aiming to make life that little bit easier for new families.
What is Improving Me?
The Improving Me programme is a partnership of 27 NHS organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside aiming to improve the experiences of women and children. The Partnership is one of the NHS England’s ‘vanguard’ sites (designed to create new models of care in the NHS) and one of seven maternity pioneers in the country.
Further information about the Cheshire and Merseyside Baby Box initiative, including local distribution centres for all maternity providers, can be found at www.ImprovingMe.org.uk.
Vicky O’Gorman, Community Maternity Support Worker, handing over the baby box to mum Natalie Howell, who is also pictured with baby daughter Molly-Rose at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital.