Putting a baby to sleep in a box isn’t the first thing a parent considers when taking their little bundle of joy home.
As a new mum I researched cots but didn’t come across a baby box, which are made from thick cardboard and come with a mattress, waterproof mattress cover and cotton sheet.
The idea comes from Finland where the boxes are a gift of the government and used as a baby’s bed for up to the first six to eight months of their life. They include a starter kit of bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products and nappies.
Experts say it has cut infant death rates as the small size of the box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies, which can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.
The Scottish government has just started giving baby boxes to new parents, at a cost of £6m a year.
The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust told me this week they’re not considering baby boxes so parents-to-be won’t be getting one here.
But should they consider it?
My view is no, it would be a massive waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere in overstretched maternity services.
As lovely as it would be to be handed a box full of goodies thanks to the taxpayer, giving someone a baby box isn’t even going to guarantee they’ll put their baby to sleep in it.
But the boxes are not a bad idea and one company, aptly named British Baby Box, formed to bring them to the UK. They cost £50 which is about the same price as a moses basket or crib.
They seem to be bigger than a moses basket - my son grew out of his by four months - and are easier to transport than a crib.
But the issue they aim to tackle isn’t resolved by a box - and parents may still put their child to sleep on their front or they’ll co-sleep and not use the box anyway.
Guidance is not to let children sleep on their front until they are able to roll over for themselves.
And parents are discouraged from co-sleeping too.
But the reality is that in a daze of sleeplessness parents don’t always follow guidance.
I remember in the early months of motherhood sitting before a health visitor asking how I can encourage my son to sleep for longer and raising the subject of letting him sleep on his front, which was quickly dismissed.
After a run of turbulent nights I gave in and put him to sleep on his front - it made a difference to my son’s sleep but I didn’t get any more sleep for checking that he was still breathing - the experts’ advice on my mind all the time.
My quick fix was co-sleeping. I never thought I’d bring my son, now 19-months-old, into bed with me, but night after night of broken sleep saw me doing it within months.
He’d start the night at the side of my bed in a Snuzpod - the same principle of a box.
After one of his many night feeds I’d have to wait for him to drift off back to sleep - fighting the urge to nod off myself.
In the end the cushions would be thrown off and the duvet moved and we’d co-sleep.
It’s an issue I discussed with friends - some of us admitted we did it, but just not to the health visitors.
What needs to change is the experts need to recognise sleep-deprived parents will - whether right or wrong - look for a quick fix and offer advice on how to be safe.
A baby box wouldn’t make my son sleep through the night; nor would a free box of goodies help me cope better in the long, early hours.