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Baby & Toddler, Motherhood

Not all babies sleep in boxes (although your baby might) | Ways to utilise your baby box and avoid landfill

A baby lay in a box, holding an adult’s finger. The article is about baby boxes.

I’d never heard of a ‘baby box’. Then I found myself ‘with child’ and the concept soon became a familiar one. A baby box is fundamentally a sturdy cardboard box that your baby will sleep in. The idea has been around for generations, which is hardly surprising when you consider that newborns historically slept in drawers. 

Baby boxes are designed to keep your newborn safe as they sleep. The concept originated in Europe and Finnish mothers-to-be have been receiving these boxes since the 1930’s.

Where can I get my baby box from?

You can buy a baby box. However, some people will be able to get their hands on one for free. Every child born in Scotland gets a free baby box under the Scotland baby box scheme. Some boroughs in England also give them away for free. I managed to get one by completing a short baby safety course. this isn’t an NHS scheme, but your midwife will know if they’re available for free in your area, so make sure you ask if there’s a baby box scheme available in your area. You will need a special baby box registration code in order to complete the course and get yours. If you find out there is a scheme local to you, then help other local parents out by spreading the word, as this scheme isn’t always well advertised. If this isn’t possible to get a free baby box in your area and you’d still like one, then you could buy your own.  

It looks hard and sturdy, shouldn’t it be cotton soft?

The baby box is pretty hard wearing. To be fair, you wouldn’t want it any other way, because you want to know that your baby is safe within it and that the box itself will withstand the odd bump. But when you get your box, it should come with a thin mattress and at least one cotton sheet to fit it as standard.

You should treat the box like you would a cot or a besides me crib. So it is up to you if you decide to use a blanket around their legs. In the summer months you might feel that a cotton baby grow is enough. 

What if my baby doesn’t like it?

If you can get your baby to sleep in one of these; wonderful. Some parents have real success with them. Some have used them as their baby’s primary sleep space, whilst others have kept them in the living room as an alternative spot for their little one to snooze in. However, despite me trying on multiple occasions, my son wouldn’t settle in his box, which meant that I was left with a large cardboard box with no purpose. 

A toy box for babies?

Instead of sending mine to landfill, I converted it into toy storage. The cardboard is sturdy enough to hold my son’s collection of toys and the box itself has kept its shape nicely. I also like the design and feel it fits in well with the rest of his nursery. Also, as the box was originally designed to house a sleeping tot, the shape lends itself well to being turned into a toy box. It is the perfect height for toddlers to access. 

Are there any other uses for these boxes?

You could use this to store something other than toys. Perhaps you need somewhere to store your baby’s toiletries. Or maybe you could do with some extra drawer space; this would be handy to store your baby’s clothes in.

Of course, you don’t have to use it to store baby items. Maybe you could find use for it in the utility room, in the loft, or in the garage. But as each box has a baby-centric design, I think it lends itself well to storing baby items.

The image shows some multi-coloured toy blocks. Over the image it says: ‘Hacks -- finding alternative uses -- your baby box.’

Is it worth it?

I’m not going to advocate that every expectant mother goes out and purchases a baby box, as I personally had more success with other sleep space solutions. However, if you can get one, do. Your babe might sleep well in it and you could always use it for toy storage when they grow. And if your little one isn’t a fan, then you can make your baby toy box ahead of schedule.

If you enjoyed this article then you should also read my piece on baby keepsake boxes, my take on the toy storage bag that every parent needs to invest in and my article about travel cot hacks. I’ve also written about my son’s feeding journey, check out Arthur, mummy and the double electric breast pump.