Ten Reasons My Baby Sleeps in a Box

Pip & Grow co-founder, Kate's, daughter, Winnie, sleeps in a cardboard box. And she loves it. Here are just ten of the many reasons why.

#1 She sleeps safely.

I work in public health. That means that statistics like “3500 infants died due to SIDS or suffocation in 2013” come across my desk on the regular. Before Winnie, those statistics made me sad. After Winnie, I can’t read them without weeping.

Needless to say, safe sleep has become a top priority in our house.

Winnie’s Smitten is more than a cardboard box. It was designed by a national expert in infant safe sleep. Its slanted sides help keep the air around her circulating. It meets all of the relevant CPSC safety regulations for bassinets. Basically, it’s a safe sleep paradise in there.

#2 She sleeps right next to me.

I like my baby close. I want to hear every little sigh while she sleeps. I want to wake up, open my eyes, and quickly glance over to see that she’s ok. I want to be able to reach over and put the pacifier back in her mouth to win 5 more minutes of sleep before I have to get up to feed her.

Our Smitten sits on the floor by my side of the bed (or my husband’s, if it’s his night). It’s easy, lightweight, and always within an arm’s reach.

#3 We can take it on the road.

We love to travel, but hotel cribs kind of gross me out. I can’t help but think about how many other babies have snotted all over that hotel crib before I put Winnie in it. Now, we take the Smitten with us – no crib needed.

Even better, Winnie knows Smitten is her sleep space. So, when we go to a hotel, it feels like home to her. We put her down in it and she goes right to sleep.

#4 Grandma loves it.

My parents adore Winnie. But, they aren’t going to turn their whole house into baby-wonderland. That means when we go to visit, we have to take Every. Thing. With us. Baby bed included.

Just take a pack ‘n’ play you say? Have you ever tried to collapse a pack ‘n’ play and cram it into its travel bag? Nightmare. It turns my language bluer than the ocean and takes an eternity. And it threatens my marriage each time my husband tries to “help.” Pass.

With Smitten, I put everything we need in the box (diapers, wipes, white noise machine, toys, books, a bottle – or ten – of wine) and then shove it in the trunk. When we get to grandma’s, we unpack the sleep box and Winnie’s sleep space is ready to go. No cursing or marriage counseling required.

#5 Protest the baby-industrial complex.

This is my husband’s favorite feature of Smitten.

Baby goods companies prey on our uncertainty and fear as new parents. And, with good reason. In Winnie’s first month of life I would have purchased anything, ANYTHING, if it gave me an hour of sleep. I’d pay double if you could promise me that she would be still be breathing when I woke up. I would have bankrupted us in the first week if my sleep-deprivation hadn’t erased our amazon password from my brain.

Winnie’s Smitten costs $70 (that’s roughly 33 cents per day of use) and can be recycled when she’s ready to sleep in her crib. Even better, Pip & Grow works with community partners to provide Smittens to families in need. So, with my purchase I not only guarantee Winnie’s safe sleep, but also help other babies sleep safely, too.

#6 It’s so pretty!

I want Winnie’s world to be lovely and stylish. If Smitten looked like a cardboard box, I’d have none of it.

Thankfully, Winnie’s Smitten is actually quite elegant (at least, I think so). As a bonus, the headboard has safe sleep tips on it so that Winnie’s babysitters and grandparents are reminded (but not by me!) to put her on her back to sleep, without loose blankets or toys.

#7 It’s handy for more than nighttime sleeping.

Winnie doesn’t just use her Smitten at night. We use it for nap time, too. I carry the box around the house with me while I do chores. Winnie is always within sight and she can stay asleep as I move her.

Winnie also uses her Smitten for tummy and play time. We have two sweet, curious dogs. As much as I love them, they make uninterrupted tummy time kind of tough. With Smitten, Winnie can hang out on her belly and the dogs are kept at a distance.

#8 Sleep boxes have a proven track record in Finland.

The idea of babies sleeping in boxes is new here in the US, but they’ve been doing it in Finland for more than 75 years. It all started when the Finnish government set out to lower the country’s infant mortality rate. They put together a sleeping box that was packed with everything a mother would need for the first six months of her baby’s life (even condoms!). The box itself has a mattress in the bottom and serves as baby’s first sleep space. The boxes were introduced in the 1930s and are still being distributed today. Now, Finland’s infant mortality rate has plummeted to one of the lowest in the world. Love that.

#9 It’s been inspirational

My love for infant sleep boxes led me to partner with two socially-conscious, brilliant women (one of whom is the national safe sleep expert I mentioned earlier). Together we started Pip & Grow so we can share Smitten with families like ours.

The Smitten has been so amazing for my family, I’m thrilled to be a part of offering it to new moms everywhere.

#10 Winnie loves it.

At the end of the day, Winnie’s happiness and safety are my top priorities. Her Smitten ensures her safety, but if it made her unhappy I wouldn’t use it. Thankfully, she loves it. It’s a space that belongs only to her and she knows it. Winnie’s Smitten gives her a familiar, safe space - no matter where we are.

 

Kate Barr, MPH

Pip & Grow co-founder, Kate, is a public health expert and new mom. She's blogging about the twists, turns, and adventures of mom-life.