'Baby boxes' now offered to new families at some southeast MO hospitals

'Baby boxes' now offered to new families at some southeast MO hospitals

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you are pregnant and living in certain communities in southeast Missouri, you should know about a new gift you'll get after you give birth.

When you go to deliver your baby, you will now be leaving with a baby box.

The boxes will be given to new families - in Scott, Stoddard, Pemiscot, Mississippi, Dunklin and New Madrid Counties - in a push to lower the number of infant deaths a year.

There's a small mattress at the bottom of the box and it also comes with a sleep swaddle as well.

The concept for the boxes comes from Finland and will provide babies with a safe place to sleep other than sleeping in the bed with mom and dad.

Morgan Nesselrodt is an outreach educator with Saint Francis Medical Center. She said this could be life changing for families in our area.

"Regardless of if they want one or need one, we are trying to educate these mothers that grandmother may not have a crib in her home or the babysitter maybe not have a crib," she said. "So the boxinette will actually provide a safe sleep area for wherever the baby may be."

There are multiple organizations that will be giving out baby boxes in our area; however, Saint Francis Medical Center will only provide boxes to Missouri Delta, Twin Rivers and their own patients.

Another organization that will be providing new families with baby boxes is Bootheel Babies and Families.

Their boxes will come with a gift card, toiletries for the baby, a book and a sleep swaddle.

Bootheel counselors said they also believe hope this will save many babies.

"By our standard, it creates that safe space for the babies," Robert Turner said. "So we know that in reference to the safe sleep issues that we have in the Bootheel this is a good answer to it."

"Having that safe space that moms can feel good about having their baby sleep instead of feeling that they need to be in the bed with them is going to make a difference," Lauren Clark said.

Since starting giving them away, about 35 moms have taken the baby boxes home.

Counselors say it is taking some getting used to, but new moms have recognized the benefits of using the boxes.

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