After being diagnosed with arthritis in her 20’s, Rathangan woman Grace Cafolla left her job in retail and set out on a whole new venture.
In 2016, Grace came across an article online about a new ‘baby box’ phenomenon.
The concept started in Finland, by three fathers who set about providing a baby box starter kit to expectant families.
The baby box, which is fitted with a foam mattress, is said to contribute to Finland’s low infant mortality rates.
The business then rolled out in the US and UK.
And now it has finally been adopted in Ireland.
Grace explains what attracted her to setting up the business.
“At the start of 2016, I saw an article about how babies all over the world were sleeping in baby boxes. I loved the simplicity of it and the idea that every baby gets an equal start in life with a unique, safe and affordable place to sleep.”
Despite having no children herself, Grace was intrigued by the idea of the baby box, and this has since become a passion of hers.
“As many of us are aware, people tend to pass down Moses baskets over the years sometimes being stored in dusty cupboards and attics. The materials can harbour bacteria which is not ideal for a new baby to be inhaling. Once the baby has outgrown the box (when they are able to sit up, kneel or pull themselves up) the box can be re-purposed as a memory box or storage box for clothes.
The baby box can typically be used up to 6-8 months, depending on the size of the baby.
Some baby boxes come equipped with essential items that mothers are asked to bring along to hospital when they are going in to have baby, such as hand knitted cardigan, scratch mitts, hats, burp clothes, sleep suits and bodysuits to name a few.
For every box sold a donation is made to Temple Street Children's Foundation to help some of the most vulnerable babies and children in Ireland.
Grace says the baby box is really booming in Ireland.
“We were at the baby fair in the RDS in April and the feedback was wonderful from all ages. A lot of people had heard of them and were curious to see them and try them. There will always be some skeptics about something new, but we have not experienced much of it. It is new concept for Ireland but these boxes have been used in Finland for over 75 years to much success that it's being adopted by hospitals and institutions worldwide.”
Grace says the support for her business in Ireland has been fantastic. “There is so much more awareness of these boxes in the last 8 months. Very few people haven't heard of them before and a lot of people are buying these boxes as presents for friends and families expecting a baby.”
The business is primarily online, visit www.irishbabybox.ie for more information.