How does giving out a Baby Box Really help a new mom?
- Statistics show that the first 6 days of a newborn baby’s life is the time in which a desperate new mom is most likely to abandon her newborn.
- This is because 40% of new moms in South Africa gives birth to children in an environment of extreme poverty.
- Most goods in the Baby Box last approximately one month into a newborn baby’s life – with nappies running out soonest, and a blanket can be used for much longer.
- It is for this reason that The Baby Box Project was initiated – to provide acts of kindness and gifts of hope to new moms at their most vulnerable time, to help them get over the first, most daunting hurdles of new motherhood and to encourage them to persevere with their newborn baby.
- Since The Baby Box Project has been working in the Rahima Moosa Hospital, the abandonment rate at the hospital has dropped by 60%.
- This means that before, many ladies would just leave their baby behind in the hospital and just disappear home without them.
- Although, not only attributable to The Baby Box Project, this is the kind of impact that can be had from helping new mom’s face their first hurdle – by providing them items to take home with them and their baby to get them started on their new journey of being a mom.
What help is there for a mom after she leaves the hospital?
- We agree that is seems like a Baby Box is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to caring for a newborn baby. Once a new mother leaves the hospital, the challenges she faces are just beginning.
- For longer-team support, we work together with an organisation called Impact Africa.
- They have a family support center in Diepsploot, as well as a 24-hour support phone number which is accessible by a “please-call-me”.
- During our drop offs, we always have a representative from Impact Africa with us, and they can tell the mothers about their support center.
- We also include an Impact Africa pamphlet in each of our baby boxes.
- The Impact Africa baby support center offers crisis pregnancy counseling, counseling for new mothers, counseling by phone.
- The center is run by South African staff who are fluent in many South African languages.
- The baby support center also has a Baby Safe – while we strongly discourage baby abandonment, we also know that mothers sometimes abandon their babies in absolute desperation. Knowing that a baby will be abandoned in a safe space instead of in a dustbin or open field give us some comfort.
Why is formula or bottles not included in Baby Boxes?
- Due to hospital regulations, we are not allowed to give any formula or bottles.
- Hospitals promote breastfeeding as the best option for a newborn baby.
- Giving out formula could interfere with the process of breastfeeding, which the government hospitals try to encourage.
- Most women are able to breastfeed and there is support at each hospital for those mom’s that truly struggle with the breastfeeding process.
- It is our aim to align ourselves with the goals of the hospitals that we work in and therefore we always adhere to their guidelines.
Why don’t you include cloth nappies in your Baby Boxes?
- We would dearly love to come to a point where we are able to include cloth nappies in our baby boxes.
- At this stage, due to both practical and cost restrictions, we are not including cloth nappies in our hampers.
- There are also many mothers who do not have access to a consistent supply of running water which is needed to wash cloth nappies hygienically.
- In the future, as funds allow, in addition to disposable nappies, we would like to include 4 toweling nappies and waterproof pants in the Baby Box so that we can help the new mom be more sustainable in her methods of caring for her newborn baby.
Am I allowed to add an extra toy/snack/treat into the bag that I am donating?
- Because we give out up to 50 Baby Boxes at a time, we like to keep our boxes standardised.
- We don’t want moms to feel left out because the lady next to her got something different or better than they received.
- There are usually up to 30 women sharing a ward and it is very visible what each mom gets.
- We check and repack each and every bag that we receive to make sure that the contents are similar so that each mom is treasured in the same way.
What do you do with extra items that are received that aren’t on the list?
- Items that get included into the bags we received but are not on the list may get redistributed to older sick babies in other wards in the hospital.
- Any items that we get from Corporates that might be in addition to our listed items (for example: if we get a bulk donation of 100 toweling nappies,) then we will ensure that all the boxes for that day’s visit have the additional item in, so that no one is left out.
Can I make up a bag using second hand clothes?
- We like to put brand new clothes into each Baby Box. We want to make these bags very special, this is our little way of making new moms feel excited for their new babies.
- If you do have donations of (good condition) second hand baby clothes, we are more than happy to take it.
- We work with AIDS orphanages and other babies homes, and we always like to give our oversupply to them.
- We also leave second hand baby clothing with the social work unit of the hospitals that we visit. These are distributed to moms in need during times that we are not there.
Why do you include water in your bags?
- Breastfeeding is greatly encouraged, both by the hospital, as well as by us as an organisation.
- Keeping well hydrated is key to the start of a mothers breastfeeding journey.
- As there are up to 30 ladies in each ward, it can be that nurses are very busy and don’t always have the time to bring water for the new moms.
- New moms need water the most of all hospital patient as they are breastfeeding so hydration is actually a key priority for these moms.
Have you heard of the Grace Factory?
- We work in relationship with The Grace Factory and share some of our contacts and volunteers.
- We keeping communication with The Grace Factory, to ensure that we are not giving out Baby Boxes at the same time as them, to ensure that new moms don’t receive more than one Box.
- We are convinced that we the great need in Gauteng for new moms to receive help, that there is space for many more charities to operate in this space.
- We are open to participating and partnering with similar charities / initiatives as these opportunities become available.