The first deliveries of ‘baby bundles’ are being received this week by expectant mothers as a pilot begins in Wales.
Designed to promote the health and well-being of newborns and help parents in the first days and weeks of a baby’s life, the bundles mirror similar initiatives in Scotland and Finland.
The pilot of 200 bundles will be delivered to expectant mothers in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area over the coming months.
The bundles will be filled with neutral baby clothes, sleep sacks, play items, household items for help with safe bathing. Some bundles will contain a baby wrap/sling whilst others contain a re-useable nappy starter pack.
There’s no financial cost for parents associated with receiving a bundle and parents are under no obligation to accept a bundle if they do not want or need one, the Welsh Government said.
The bundles also contain useful guidance for new parents as well as links to the Welsh Government’s online parenting information.
Karys Davies and her husband Ben, from Penllergaer in Swansea, were one of the first to receive a bundle earlier this week.
“When the box arrived I felt really excited, like an early Christmas present,” Karys said.
“I really think other expectant parents will benefit from the baby bundle. It’s a great starter kit – it’s got a lot of things that you need when it can be a bit of a chaotic time trying to go out and make sure you’ve got everything.
“It just takes that pressure off the first few weeks when you don’t really know what you’re exactly going to need. There’s a bit of everything in there to help you through that stage.”
The introduction of baby boxes in Scotland proved controversial, with opposition MSP raising doubts about their effectiveness and safety.
However deputy Head of Midwifery at Swansea Bay University Health Board, Susan Jose, said the bundles were particularly important at a time when some families will be experiencing financial uncertainty during the pandemic.
“I wish the pilot scheme every success and look forward to receiving comments and feedback from women to inform longer-term decisions for the scheme,” she said.
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said the baby bundles were particularly important in the midst of a pandemic.
“Our baby bundles not only offer a ‘welcome to the world!’ to Wales’ newest little arrivals but they offer fantastic support to both parents and babies at such a vital stage in all of their lives.
“We also hope these bundles will promote a more equal playing field for parents and their babies by reducing expenditure on newborn essentials.
“Similar schemes, such as in Scotland, have seen high up-take and evidence so far suggests parents in Swansea are keen to sign-up for this pilot at their 28-week antenatal appointment.
“We look forward to receiving feedback from these families as they begin their journey with their new additions.”