Scottish Baby Boxes: How to use my new baby wrap?

Jess Hippey
using a stretchy baby wrap

We were so delighted when we heard the announcement that the Scottish Government were going to introduce baby boxes for all babies born in Scotland, based on a Finnish Project that’s been running since 1938. I remember researching the Finnish boxes[1] when I was pregnant with my children, thinking they were such a great idea and wishing we had similar here – and now we do!

The boxes contain over 40 different items that the government considers essential for new babies and for parents, and the box itself can be used with the mattress and sheets inside it to become a safe clean sleeping area for the baby.

This post will let you know what you will receive in your new baby box, and will help you to get started with your new stretchy sling.

Scottish Baby Box Announcement, courtesy of the Scottish Government

What is included in the Scottish Baby Box:

  • A poem for your wee one
  • Baby wrap
  • Newborn: 1 short-sleeved vest, 1 long-sleeved vest, 1 long-sleeved side buttoning vest, 1 long-sleeved sleepsuit, 2 jersey trousers, 1 pair of socks & 1 cotton hat
  • 3-6 months: 1 all-in-one day suit, 1 long-sleeved sleepsuit, 1 jersey trousers, 1 pair of socks & 1 fleece jacket with hood.
  • Reusable nappies voucher (newborn) & travel changing mat
  • Mattress with protector, fitted sheet & cellular blanket
  • Digital ear thermometer
  • 1 pair scratch mittens & emery boards
  • Hooded bath towel, Bath sponge & Bath and room thermometer
  • Teething ring soother
  • 2 baby books, comforter toy & play mat
  • Bib & 3 muslin cloth squares
  • Pack of disposable nursing pads
  • Pack of 12 maternity towels
  • Box of 3 condoms

Whilst it’s a wonderful gesture to receive new items for your baby – the reason for the box and gifts goes much deeper than a simple gesture, as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “It’s a simple idea with a proven record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents”[2] All babies will now have a guaranteed safe sleeping area, clean clothes and basic essentials.

Imagine then the joy at Oscha HQ when we discovered that a baby carrier was going to be included too. Read on for our ‘how to’ video, as well as a look at all the benefits your new sling can bring for you and your baby.

Finding your little one’s grown too big for your stretchy wrap?
Read our post about moving on from your stretchy baby box sling.

Anne and Edgar using a Stretchy Wrap with a simple Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC)

Whilst you don’t need a carrier to carry a baby, it sure does help! It makes it easier on your tired arms, and the optimum position of the baby, chest to chest with you, helps them hear your heartbeat and be soothed. A carrier also allows for more freedom when exploring the world; hills and narrow pathways are no object to carriers.

What is a Stretchy Baby Wrap?

The carrier included in the Scottish Baby Box is called a ‘stretchy baby wrap’. It’s a long piece of stretchy fabric that you tie on to support your baby in a hands-free carry. Whilst it may seem intimidating it’s like learning to tie shoes – what may seem tricky at first soon becomes second nature.

How are Oscha’s wraps different? Our woven wraps do not have the same stretch as the Baby Box wrap. While they are put on in a similar way the woven material means they are are more sturdy and will last you from newborn to toddlerhood. A stretchy sling will usually only be comfortable until about 6 months. Our slings are made in our solar-powered Scottish workshop using organic and responsibly sourced materials. Learn more.

Note: The wrap included in the Scottish Baby Box is a ‘One-Way Stretchy’ be sure to search for this type when looking for instructions, or use our video below.

Learn How to Use Your Stretchy Baby Wrap

Stretchy Baby Wraps can be used from birth, weight depending, until around 6-9 months. The minimum weight limit varies between brands from between 7 – 8lbs and so it’s best to check what the instructions say on your particular one for that. If however, you have a baby weighing less than that, or a premature baby, you it is still possible to carry from birth using a stretchy wrap woven wrap or a ring sling, after seeking the advice of a healthcare professional.

The great thing about a baby wrap is that it can be used easily by all carers.

Carrying your baby close whether just holding them or in a carrier has so many benefits “Human contact with other humans is vital to emotional and physical health and is a normal and essential part of development[3]. Skin to skin contact helps them regulate their temperature, heart rate and breathing rates[4].  It produces oxytocin in both the caregiver and the baby, calming the baby and can even reduce the effects and incidence of Post Natal Depression[5]. Studies have shown that carried babies cry less[6] and that carrying significantly helps with both reflux[7] and colic.

Learn more about the benefits of carrying your baby.

Woven wraps are a great alternative to stretchy wraps. Suitable from newborn to toddler.
A colourful woven wrap used with a newborn

People often ask about how to use a carrier safely which is a great question. We know little babies need help in many areas of their lives. Ensuring that no fabric is obscuring their face and that their chin is not resting on their chest, is one of the ways we ensure their safety.
You can read more about safety and other carrying questions, like ‘What should my baby wear in a carrier?’ here.

Moving on from a Stretchy Wrap

Once your baby has outgrown the stretchy baby wrap, carrying doesn’t have to end there –  there are many options you can move on to, to enable the closeness to continue. If you’ve enjoyed the simplicity and comfort of tying the stretchy wrap – you might like to move onto a woven wrap, they can be tied in a way very similar to how you used the stretchy wrap so they make for a smooth and easy transition.

Demonstration of the natural 'M' position being supported by both a stretchy and a woven wrap
Demonstration of the natural ‘M’ position being supported by both a stretchy and a woven wrap

Our woven slings come in a fabulous array of colours and designs and support your child’s weight so well they last right the way through until you no longer use a carrier – and are so versatile that they can, in fact, be used from birth too if you prefer.

Browse our range of newborn friendly baby wraps.

You can read more about woven alternatives to your stretchy baby wrap here, and for tips for moving on from your stretchy head over to our blog post on transitioning to a woven wrap.

Read about Hannah’s journey from the Baby Box stretchy to a woven wrap.

What Other Types of Baby Carrier are Available?

Ring Slings:
These are one shoulder slings which are fastened with a set of rings. Simple and quick to use, these allow for quick ups and downs – perfect for school runs & for toddlers. They are also a firm favourite for weddings and other special occasions.

Read more about Ring Slings here.

Baby Carriers:
If you decide you’d like something with a little more structure, there are also fabulous carriers that you can move on to as well – such as the half buckle Cairis or full buckle Bairn. These have less of a learning curve than the wrap but maintain all of the amazing benefits of using a sling.

Read more about our Cairis carrier here or about our Bairn carrier here.

Want a Little Extra Support?

There are also lots of people who are trained in how to use baby carriers – called Baby Carrying Consultants or Peer Supporters, and those who run drop-in sessions called Sling Libraries, who can help you out in person if that’s what you’d prefer.

Find the nearest Sling Consultant to you.

Dr. Rosie Knowles demonstrating how to carry newborn in a woven wrap

Want to register for a Scottish Baby Box? Simply talk to your midwife and they will request it for you!

Written by Jess Hippey

Jess is a mum to two boys and a Baby Carrying Consultant based in Aberdeen, Scotland. 

For more info about the work that she does see: www.closeandcalm.co.uk

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22751415

[2] https://news.gov.scot/news/baby-boxes-begin

[3] Dr Rosie Knowles, Why Babywearing Matters. Pinter and Martin, 2016. Pg.7.

[4] Heart Rate Variability Responses of a Preterm Infant to Kangaroo Care Gail C. McCain, PhD, RN, FAAN. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2133345/

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22537390

[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3517799

[7]http://www.closeandcalm.co.uk/single-post/2016/08/31/Reflux-and-Baby-Carrying