Supporting Families – One Baby Box at a Time.
Stork & Company of Wisconsin donates infant care items which come in maternity packages similar to the ones found in Finland, and manufactured by The Baby Box Co. here in the U.S. This maternity package contains not only a box with a mattress for a baby to sleep safely in, but also many infant care items. Stork & Co. also adds other additional baby supplies families may need.
The funds required to distribute our baby boxes to families are donated by individuals, funding organizations, and corporations, as well as raised through fundraising campaigns. These baby boxes are then delivered via hospitals, clinics, and community partners in Milwaukee and Wisconsin to any parent who is in need of one.
Our mission is to easily distribute free baby supplies to families in Milwaukee and Wisconsin to improve the living conditions of infants in need, as well as to contribute to a lowering of Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate.
What are Baby Boxes?
During the summer of 2014, Meena Nutbeam, founder and director of Stork & Co., came across a BBC article that caught her interest. In the article, she read about the maternity packages given to expecting mothers in Finland. As she read, she discovered that each mother in Finland receives a cardboard box filled with a mattress and other infant care items. These boxes are not just carriers for infant supplies, but also baby beds.
A Baby Box (From The Baby Box Co.) Includes:
- 1 Baby Box (length 26 3/4 in, width 16 3/4 in and height 11 1/2 in) and lid designed with The Baby Box Company’s current collection pattern
- 1 baby mattress fitted to the baby box with waterproof cover and 100% cotton sheet
- 1 onesie
- 1 pack of diapers
- 1 pack of wipes
- Selection of samples from The Baby Box Company’s partners
- 1 tote bag
- 1 membership to Baby Box University, a comprehensive online antenatal and early parenting program featuring experts worldwide in the fields of maternal care, birth and early childhood development
***Box materials can also be specialized for certain family and organization needs, and may vary
Where Do Stork & Co.’s Baby Boxes Come From?
The Baby Box Co., which makes boxes similar to the ones in Finland’s maternity package, supplies the baby boxes for Stork & Co. Because of this relationship, Stork & Co. is able receive donated baby boxes from The Baby Box Co. which we deliver to families in need in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Why Does Milwaukee Need Baby Boxes?
Baby Boxes are a great idea for Milwaukee, a city with a high infant mortality rate. One of the most preventable causes of infant deaths is an unsafe sleep environment (especially the presence of blankets, pillows, soft objects/bedding, etc.), which contributes to approximately 15 infant deaths per year in Milwaukee. However, in 2017, there were nearly 30 sleep-related infant deaths through September – meaning in 2017 we have already seen the most infant sleep-related deaths since 2007. The city of Milwaukee has made many attempts at improving its infant mortality rate, but is still in the process of doing so. Baby Boxes provide baby supplies to families in need, as well as prevent deaths resulting from unsafe sleep and bed-sharing by providing infant beds to families. A study at Temple University Hospital, conducted in 2016, has shown that mothers who receive face-to-face safe sleep education with the baby box are 25% less likely to bed-share in the first eight days after birth (1). For exclusively breastfed infants, bed-sharing was reduced by 50% (1).
Baby Boxes are not just a great resource for safe sleep, but also for a baby’s growth and development. Many babies are put in a carseat while awake, while a Baby Box would give the infant more chances to move and start to develop. Baby Boxes are also easier to carry from place to place than a pack ‘n play and, when placed next to the bed, make it easier for parents to reach their infant.
Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate is higher than the national average, which itself is worse than over twenty other of the world’s wealthiest nations. With resources like these for the families that are struggling the most in Milwaukee, we can begin to make a difference in the lives of babies and their families.
Parent Praise of the Baby Boxes:
Parents at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center have some great things to say about Baby Boxes! Baby Boxes provide a safe place for sleep, opportunities for more interactions with baby, and support to families…
“I know I am not supposed to sleep with my baby, but I am so tired and sometimes when I was nursing him fell asleep and was scared when I woke up. It is so much easier to keep this by my bed and touch him while we both fall to sleep.”
“This box will make things easier for my children to talk to and touch my baby but I know she is safe and I can take this to and from the bedroom to the living room. I told my kids only the baby can be in the box, no toys.”
“I lost my husband during my pregnancy, so I need to work and take care of my children on my own. I am trying to provide for my children like my husband, did but I see them suffer. This beautiful box with things my baby will need made my children and I excited about the baby. I now have something special for my baby.“
11 Benefits of the Baby Box:
A pack ‘n play or crib is a great place for safe sleep, and is a long term solution for safe sleep. The baby box also has many unique benefits…
1. The baby boxes are free to local nonprofits and families.
2. The baby box comes with other infant care supplies….all for free.
3. The baby box is easy to move from room to room and from house to house – making it ideal for homeless individuals or those that move from place to place often – as well as those who may not have room for a pack ‘n play or crib in the bedroom.
4. A baby box can be placed right next to the bed for easy access to reach down and check on your child during the night. 59% of mothers in a Temple University Hospital study who exclusively breastfed said the baby box made breastfeeding easier (1).
5. A baby box is easier for women who have had c-sections to reach into than a pack ‘n play or crib.
6. A baby box is oftentimes more accessible for siblings and parents to interact with the baby than many other options. Parent-child interaction is extremely important for a child’s early brain development.
7. Parents are likely to move their child into a portable baby box in comparison to many other options. Children are often otherwise left in car seats throughout the day, where their development is hindered. It is also unsafe to use a car seat as a safe sleep environment.
8. The baby box is easy to reuse once a baby grows out of it, either for storage or to hold infant care items.
9. The baby box is extremely eco-friendly.
10. It is easier for parents to monitor tummy time, etc. in a baby box than many other options.
11. Parents do not need to worry about baby box assembly, unlike many other options.
Baby Box Safety
Our top priority is the safety of the baby boxes we deliver to families.
All of the products The Baby Box Company produces, including the baby box itself and the supplies inside, meet strict safety regulations enacted by the U.S. Product Safety Commission, Canada’s Minister of Health, the European Commission, and Product Safety Australia.
Parents are also required to complete an educational program on baby box safe use and safe sleep, as well as a range of topics on pregnancy and infant care.
For more information on safety and use, please visit our “Baby Box Safety and Use” page.
How are Baby Boxes Distributed?
Our baby boxes are delivered to families through health departments, local nonprofits, and direct deliveries. So far, Stork & Co has made deliveries to Sixteenth Street Community Health Center’s Stork’s Nest, the Milwaukee Center for Independence, the Milwaukee Women’s Center, Children’s Hospital of WI Community Services, COA Youth & Family Centers, Pregnancy Support Services of WI, Bad River Health and Wellness Center, Outreach Community Health Centers, Next Door, Hephatha Lutheran Church’s Strong Baby Sanctuary, Our Daily Bread, Mommy & Me Prenatal Care Services, Baby & Me Prenatal Care Services, Life Enhancement Supportive Services, Cudahy Health Department, Oak Creek Health Department, Franklin Health Department, Greenfield Health Department, Meta House, the Hmong American Friendship Association, Centro Hispano, Mothering the Mother, Healthy Mom Healthy Baby (CHW), and MPS. We also make many direct baby box deliveries to families in need.