Baby boxes

What should we think about baby boxes?

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Baby boxes are an interesting concept.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended, for example, that babies sleep in their parent/caregiver’s room for the first 6-12 months of life — but not in the same bed. Bed sharing has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome as well as suffocation.

Well, last year Temple University (in Philadelphia) started a SAFE-T program. They give baby boxes to new moms. If you’re unfamiliar with what a baby box is and can’t determine it from the name, check out the photo with this post. You will get it 🙂

Research on baby boxes

Now the SAFE-T baby boxes experiment has gone on 12 months, and the results are in.

It reduced bed sharing by 25% across the first eight days of life, on average. Here’s a quote from the lead researcher:

“We are pleased with the results of this first-of-its-kind study,” said Megan Heere, lead investigator and medical director of the Well Baby Nursery at Temple University Hospital. “Future studies are needed to determine if the effect of this intervention is sustainable through the first six to 12 months of life, and if this intervention can significantly reduce the incidence of sleep-related death in large populations over time.”

It should also be noted that this study found a 50% drop in bed sharing among breast-fed babies, and breast-fed babies tend to be more apt to want to share the bed.

But — and this is an important ‘but’ — only 12% of the mothers in the study used the baby boxes as the primary sleeping method.

The U.S. infatuation with baby boxes

A lot of this comes from Finland, where newborns sleep in cardboard boxes provided by the government. Finland is a very different type of country than the U.S., yes, but its infant mortality rate is half of ours — about 2.5 for every 1,000 births. Before this Temple research above, states like New Jersey took the baby boxes idea from Finland. Globally, the Finnish concept is becoming very popular.

My take

Honestly, I’m for whatever works for a given set of parents/caregivers — and if the Nightingales come into a house and need to work with baby boxes, so be it. No one wants to see bed sharing leading to anything drastic or awful happening. And honestly, you can’t argue with the results of the baby boxes in Finland and other areas that have tried them out.

Have you tried baby boxes? What’s your view?

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