Bringing Baby Boxes to St. Luke’s Birthing Center: Through a New Partnership with Babies Need Boxes Northland

Are you looking to establish care at St. Luke’s? Call 218.249.4000.
For general questions, call 218.249.5555.

Bringing Baby Boxes to St. Luke’s Birthing Center: Through a New Partnership with Babies Need Boxes Northland

Published in Moms & Dads Today magazine, November/December 2017

Bringing Baby Boxes to St. Luke’s Birthing Center

Through a New Partnership with Babies Need Boxes Northland

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates at 2.3% for every 1,000 births. The United States, on the other hand, is nearly three times that rate. So what does Finland do differently?

First, they created baby boxes. For the past 75 years, every new mother has brought home a maternity package that included a cardboard box with bedding and newborn essentials. To get the baby box, all the mothers have to do is schedule a clinic visit within the first four months of pregnancy — another potential, positive contributor to Finland’s low mortality rate.

Seeing the profound impact baby boxes had on parents and babies in Finland, St. Luke’s decided to bring them to the birthing center. Through a partnership with Babies Need Boxes Northland, St. Luke’s gives every mom who delivers at its Birthing Center a baby box. This specially made cardboard box is fully equipped with a mattress and safe bedding, and is intended to be baby’s first bed. The baby box provides babies with a safe sleeping space in addition to support items such as diapers, wipes and breastfeeding supplies.

Babies Need Boxes is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides families with safe sleep education, a safe sleep environment, newborn care essentials to promote self-sufficiency and interactive items to foster positive parent-child interaction. It was started in 2015 in Fridley, MN, after the founder learned about the Finnish baby box tradition.

Lori Swanson, St. Luke’s Birthing Center Nurse Manager, jumped at the idea of bringing baby boxes to St. Luke’s.

“We made a connection right away, and worked on a partnership so we could provide a baby box to every mom who delivers at St. Luke’s,” said Swanson.

“It’s been quite a change,” said Amanda Powers-Lindquist, director of operations from the Duluth chapter of Babies Need Boxes. “We’ve gone from about 100 boxes per year to 100 per month with the St. Luke’s partnership.”

Beyond the Baby Box

While the baby box provides a safe sleep space for baby, there’s also an educational component of this program that’s equally important.

“Every patient learns about the safety of using the baby box and what a safe sleep environment looks like before they leave,” said Swanson.

An online video that runs about 15-20 minutes helps further explain safe sleep practices to new parents.

“The combination of support, education and the baby box itself is what helps people feel more confident in their ability to parent,” explained Powers-Lindquist.

Baby Box Do’s and Don’ts

Baby boxes are lightweight and mobile, which means they can be moved from bedroom to nursery to the backyard to the dining room depending on where naptime is that day. When traveling, it can also be used to carry baby supplies, and unpacked upon arrival.

Baby boxes can be used until baby reaches six to nine months or 20 pounds, whichever comes first. The boxes have been tested independently and meet the safety qualifications of a bassinet.

Perhaps the greatest benefit is that baby boxes can keep babies close to parents and in a safe place.

“When we first brought my son home, I wanted him near me at all times,” Powers-Lindquist said. “I also have a three-year-old who moves around, so the baby box allowed me to always keep baby close by.”

BELOW: Baby boxes are offered to every family in the St. Luke's Birthing Center

218.249.5555 | 800.321.3790

St. Luke’s, 915 East First Street, Duluth, MN 55805
© 2018 St. Luke's. All Rights Reserved.

To establish care, call 218.249.4000.
For general questions, call 218.249.5555.

915 East First Street
Duluth, MN 55805