Nicola Sturgeon has handed out Scotland’s first baby boxes to parents, filled with essentials such as nappies, clothes and books.
The boxes are based on a Finnish policy of giving baby boxes to expectant parents and the First Minister said they would ensure every child gets “the best start in life”.
She handed over the first boxes to parents at Clackmannanshire Community Health Care Centre in Alloa on New Year’s Day.
She said: “Scotland’s baby box is a strong signal of our determination that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life.
“The box contains around 40 different essential items for new babies and for parents.
“It’s a simple idea with a proven record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents, and I’m proud and excited that the pilot is now under way.
“Being a parent is the most important but also the most difficult job there is, so it’s important that parents get as much support as possible.
“The box complements the existing services available to help babies and parents to thrive in the crucial early months.”
Among the items in the box are a play mat, a changing mat, a digital thermometer, a fleece jacket, several babygrows, a hooded bath towel, a reusable nappy and liners, a baby book and an organic sponge.
The box, which is suitable for the baby to sleep in, also contains cot sheets, a mattress and a blanket.
A Scots poem entitled Welcome Wee One by Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay is also included.
Clackmannanshire has been chosen for a three-month pilot project, along with Orkney, ahead of the boxes being rolled out to all newborns from the summer.
Mother-to-be Joan McKinven was one of the parents receiving the box from Ms Sturgeon.
She said: “I’m very impressed with the contents of the box. I think any support will be appreciated by new parents. There are a lot of helpful items, so I think it will be well used.”
Gillian Morton, head of midwifery at NHS Forth Valley, said: “We are delighted that Clackmannanshire has been selected as one of the pilot sites for the new baby boxes.
“Pregnant women from the local area are really looking forward to receiving their boxes and we are sure the wide range of items will be very useful during those important early weeks and months.”