Sure, you could set up a super-snazzy modern nursery for your newborn with the same shabby-chic bassinet that鈥檚 all the rage with celeb mamas. Or鈥 you could just put them in a box! Okay, so it鈥檚 not just any ol鈥 box we鈥檙e talking about. A 鈥渂aby box鈥 is a basic starter kit for a new parent, packaged up in a simple safe sleeper. If this聽sounds like some new parenting fad, it鈥檚 not: These cute little kits have been around for almost 80聽years! Whether you鈥檙e a mommy-to-be or your BFF is preggo, it鈥檚 time to get the scoop on this generations-old tradition.


1. Safe Snoozing: A perfectly plush bed might seem like a great way to keep your little one comfy and cozy 鈥 but it can actually be risky for their health and safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)聽recommends a firm sleeping surface, free from all comforters, quilts, blankies, bumpers, pillows, and other assorted padding. Those are requirements the baby box fits to a T.

2. Finnish Fashion: No, not finished! Baby boxes are just getting their start in the US, but the idea launched in Finland just before WWII. In 1938, when the first boxes were distributed, Finland had an infant mortality rate of 65 per every 1,000 children born. The box was at least partially responsible for dropping that stat over 95 percent over the following decades, to its 2013 rate of three out of every 1,000 births. All new Finnish mamas get these nifty boxes to take home (provided they get a doctor鈥檚 exam within the first four months of pregnancy). Not only are the boxes themselves super useful, but each one contains聽50 essential baby items, such as clothes, bedding, and socks.

3. American Arrival:聽No longer just a聽Euro-trend, baby boxes are now available in the US too! Well, depending on where you live, anyway. New Jersey was the first state in the US to start a baby box program: New moms in the Garden State will get the box (with a firm mattress), diapers, wipes, breast pads, a onesie, and other baby basics. Like NJ parents, mamas in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are also eligible for their own free baby boxes. If your home base doesn鈥檛 provide a free box yet, don鈥檛 worry 鈥 you can still get your hands on one, for a fee, from聽The Baby Box Co.


4. Sleeping in (Your Room): One of the newer additions to the AAP鈥檚 safe sleeping guidelines is the recommendation that baby sleep in the same room as you. This doesn鈥檛 mean your newborn should cuddle up next to you in bed though: That鈥檚 not safe for the kiddo. When your baby聽needs to聽sleep in your room聽but not in your bed, and the crib that you built inside of the nursery is never making its way through your bedroom door, the box comes in as a safe sleeping alternative.

5. Beyond Bedtime: If you haven鈥檛 figured it out yet, baby boxes aren鈥檛 just about the all-important box itself, but they also come filled with some pretty super swag. The first boxes were given to low-income moms 鈥 helping them to care for their new babies, even when they didn鈥檛 have the funds to do so. The exact contents of modern baby boxes depend on who鈥檚 putting the box together, but they could include anything from a baby thermometer to diapers to an eentsie-weentsie聽baby hat.

6. Educational Opportunities: Along with a safe sleeping spot and awesome essentials, every baby box also comes with parent education. The free boxes (such as the NJ giveaways) come with a caveat 鈥 new moms must take an online course about safe sleeping practices. Are you buying your box instead of getting it for free? Purchase a box and you鈥檒l get access to educational materials and parenting tips too!

Would you use a baby box? Tweet us your thoughts聽@BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)