Pregnant women across Alberta will each receive a cardboard box full of essentials for newborn babies this year as part of a University of Calgary research study funded by a $500,000 government grant in 2014.
Patterned after Finland’s baby boxes filled with starter kits — diapers, books, blankets and other baby essentials — given to new moms since 1938. The cardboard boxes themselves can be transfomed into a crib a baby can sleep in.
The U of C research entitled ‘Welcome to Parenthood’ has already granted 50 care packages to first-time moms.
The baby box will also contain questionnaires to be filled out by particpants who will be connected to another adult in their social network that will mentor them from pregnancy to parenthood.
“What we’re hoping to do by providing this tangible resource and this mentorship during this transition time is to really say to new parents in Alberta: ‘You’re important, we value you and your role. We want to provide you with the supports that you’re going to need to help you through this transition because you’re going to be successful but every parent needs a little help,’” said Karen Benzies, a University of Calgary professor and principal proponent of the Welcome to Parenthood study.
The study targets women at 32 weeks gestation who will receive the box complete with a sleeper, onesie, diapers, nursing pad, blanket, sleep sack, environmentally-friendly baby shampoo, a book, a thermometer and Alberta Health Services resources.
Participants will pick up boxes at Parent Link Centres across Alberta in Edmonton, Airdrie, Lloydminster, Didsbury, Stony Plain, Fort Macleod and Fort McMurray.