We were so delighted when we heard the announcement that the Scottish Government were going to introduce baby boxes for all babies born in Scotland, based on a Finnish Project that’s been running since 1938. I remember researching the Finnish boxes when I was pregnant with my children, thinking they were such a great idea and wishing we had similar here – and now we do!
The boxes contain over 40 different items that the government considers essential for new babies and for parents, and the box itself can be used with the mattress and sheets inside it to become a safe clean sleeping area for the baby.
Whilst it’s a wonderful gesture to receive new items for your baby – the reason for the box and gifts goes much deeper than a simple gesture, as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “It’s a simple idea with a proven record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents” All babies will now have a guaranteed safe sleeping area, clean clothes and basic essentials.
Imagine then the joy at Oscha HQ when we discovered that a baby carrier was going to be included too.
Carrying your baby close whether just holding them or in a carrier has so many benefits “Human contact with other humans is vital to emotional and physical health and is a normal and essential part of development. Skin to skin contact helps them regulate their temperature, heart rate and breathing rates. It produces oxytocin in both the caregiver and the baby, calming the baby and can even reduce the effects and incidence of Post Natal Depression. Studies have shown that carried babies cry less and that carrying significantly helps with both reflux and colic.
Whilst you don’t need a carrier to carry a baby, it sure does help! It makes it easier on your tired arms, and the optimum position of the baby, chest to chest with yours – helps them hear your heartbeat and be soothed. A carrier also allows for more freedom when exploring the world; hills and narrow pathways are no object to carriers.
The carrier included in the Scottish Baby Box is called a Baby Wrap. It’s a long piece of stretchy fabric, that you tie on, and whilst it may seem intimidating it’s like learning to tie shoes – what may seem tricky at first soon becomes second nature.
This video talks you through how to put the Baby Wrap on, how to size it for your baby and make it safe and comfortable for you both.
People often ask about how to use a carrier safely which is a great question. We know little babies need help in many areas of their lives, and ensuring their airways are nice and clear, with no fabric obscuring their face, and with their chin not resting on their chest, is one of the ways we ensure their safety. Likewise, the upright, chest to chest position, makes breathing much easier for them than a lying down position, and so we always recommend the upright position. You can read more about safety and other carrying questions, like ‘What should my baby wear in a carrier?’ here.
There are also lots of people who are trained in how to use baby carriers – called Baby Carrying Consultants or Peer Supporters, and those who run drop in sessions called Sling Libraries, who can help you out in person if that’s what you’d prefer. I personally find that easier than videos, and you can find them all listed along with their qualifications here.
Stretchy Baby Wraps can be used from birth, weight depending, until around 6-9 months. The minimum weight limit varies between brands from between 7 – 8lbs and so it’s best to check what the instructions say on your particular one for that. If however, you have a baby weighing less than that, or a premature baby, you can still carry from birth using a woven wrap or a ring sling instead.
Once your baby has outgrown the stretchy baby wrap, carrying doesn’t have to end there – there are many options you can move on to, to enable the closeness to continue. If you’ve enjoyed the simplicity and comfort of tying the stretchy wrap – you might like to move onto a woven wrap, they can be tied in a way very similar to how you used the stretchy wrap so they make for a smooth and easy transition. Our woven slings come in a fabulous array of colours and designs and support your child’s weight so well they last right the way through until you no longer use a carrier – and are so versatile that they can, in fact, be used from birth too if you prefer.
Let’s not forget about ring slings – one shoulder slings which are fastened with a set of rings. Simple and quick to use, these allow for quick ups and downs – perfect for school runs & for toddlers. They are also a firm favourite at weddings and other special occasions.
If you decide you’d like something with a little more structure, there are also fabulous carriers that you can move on to as well – such as the Cairis or Coorie, which you can read more about here. These have less of a learning curve than the wrap but maintain all of the amazing benefits of using a sling.
You can register for your Scottish Baby Box at your midwife appointments from 15th June 2017.
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 Heart Rate Variability Responses of a Preterm Infant to Kangaroo Care Gail C. McCain, PhD, RN, FAAN. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2133345/