I’ve been doing some researching into Finnish-inspired baby boxes for new moms in Edmonton.
I’ve found two kinds of free baby boxes, each inspired by Finland, but both very different.
You are eligible to get a free, safe-sleep Baby Box from The Baby Box Company (Canada) if you are an Alberta resident who has had, or is having, a baby between October 1, 2016 and October of next year. In true, Finnish-inspired fashion, this box is safe for sleep. The Baby Box Company has partnered with non-profits and community agencies in Alberta to distribute these boxes to new parents. The main purpose of the boxes is to provide a safe sleep space for all new babies, regardless of socioeconomic status. It complies with Health Canada’s bassinet standard.
How to get a safe-sleep Baby Box:
1 | Register on Baby Box University
Go to www.babyboxuniversity.com and register as an Alberta resident. Sign up if you are a first-time user.
2 | Get a Completion Certificate
Select the Alberta syllabus on the home page of Baby Box University. Complete the training. (Approx. 10 minutes) Once done, your certificate will come via e-mail, or you can take a screen shot.
3 | Collect Your Baby Box
Go to the distribution centre nearest you to get your Baby Box. Call in advance if you are unsure of their hours. For Alberta distributors, use this search map tool on their website. In Edmonton, go to Japser Place Child and Family Resource Centre / West Edmonton Parent Link. In Stony Plain, go to Compassionate Connections. In Sherwood Park, go to Baby & Beyond.
Finnish-style baby boxes were first introduced in Alberta as a provincial pilot project. The University of Calgary launched Welcome to Parenthood Alberta, a research study that aimed to help first-time pregnant women and see how Baby Boxes could help new parents. The study included moms in Edmonton and area. It has evolved into the Baby Box being distributed to Parent Link Centres on a larger scale.
Andrea, a new Edmonton mama, was one of the first new moms in Edmonton to receive one.
Here’s what she had to say:
I registered for a Baby Box around the beginning of 2016, I think. I heard about it on the news as it was a new project (pilot) through Family Futures. I got my box before baby was born, about a month prior to his due date.
Inside, there was a baby book (Kisses, Kisses, Baby Oh!), a sleeper, a onesie, disposable nursing pads, maxi pads, information provided by Alberta Health, a Dad’s Guide to Baby, which was written like a car manual, both Huggies and Pampers newborn diapers, Burts Bees baby shampoo, a baby thermometer, a sleep sac, and of course, the box with a mattress for sleeping. I would recommend parents register for one. There was a lot of stuff I would have never thought about that I needed, like nursing pads. I was only really thinking about the baby’s needs.
The fact that I could use it as a bed was nice. I was really overwhelmed with becoming a first time parent, so this box helped me feel a bit more at ease. One thing to note: I had a c-section — and the box could only be used on the ground for safety purposes. I couldn’t bend to put baby in there to sleep until I healed.
But wait… new moms can pre-register for another baby box!
There is another free baby box program operating in Canada. Currently, it’s operating in Ontario, but has opened it’s waiting list for new parents in other provinces as well! Yes, that means us in Alberta. As demand grows, they will expand into Alberta and start mailing us all boxes of freebies.
This baby box is not for sleeping but is a starter kit, packed with tons of free products, from a non-profit company called Baby Box Canada.
If you are expecting, you simply pre-register online and wait to hear more.
Baby Box Canada was also inspired by Finland but provides a ton of free supplies rather than a sleeping box. Although similar in name and intent, it is unaffiliated with The Baby Box Company. Baby Box Canada is a non-profit organization that is funded by donations and product sponsorships. It focuses on the contents inside the box, not the box itself. These are delivered to you by courier, so you won’t have to pick it up from a distribution centre.