Baby Boxes - A first look at some results!

Posted on
02nd Nov 2018
by Doreen Omitto

HealthStart baby boxes babies research survey Nairobi Kenya

Since the launch of the Baby Box program in May 2018, our team have handed out 380 boxes. We're now getting the first results back that tell us how the boxes are being used, and the impact this is having on families.

The story so far...

Back in May, at the start of the programme, trained four research assistants to conduct a baseline survey in informal settlements in Westlands, Nairobi. The women surveyed were from Kangemi, Kibagare and Githogoro. This survey consisted of preliminary questions asking the expectant mothers about their knowledge of childcare, maternal health and prenatal care (you can read about the results in Marti's blog here).

In July we started registering pregnant women to receive the boxes when their babies were born. Over a period of three weeks we had 500 women registered. So far we have handed out 380 boxes and will continue until they have all been allocated. We are working itwo health centres in Nairobi.

As with all our new programmes, worked in an agile way - responding quickly to solve problems. For example, the health centres we were working with initially had some challenges when it came to postnatal care service delivery. We worked quickly to address this to make sure that all women would receive postnatal check ups before they receive the baby box to guarantee their attendance. Thirteen women did not receive the postnatal care at the start of the programme, so for these mums, organised for two nurses to conduct home visits. We conducted a postnatal care training session, in collaboration with the ministry of health, for the nurses and health care volunteers. This was designed to help build the capacity of their teams, and bridge any gaps in their knowledge which applied to our programme.

After a slow start, things started to pick up in August and we have received a constant flow of women collecting boxes ever since. 

We originally expected to have given out all the baby boxes by the second week of October as we were registering women already in their third trimester. However, we now know that this will not be possible due to various reasons, including:

  • There are sometimes long queues for the postnatal check ups (some women go home instead of waiting)
  • Many mothers do not know their correct scan or due dates, so our estimates about when boxes would be collected were not always correct


What's happening now?

Now that so many boxes have been collected, the team have been visiting families at home to find out how they have been impacted by the programme. (You can read about some of the first mums we visited in this box post.) We have been collecting data on three core areas: 

  • Use of the baby box

  • Breastfeeding

  • Support structures / groups for mums

We have conducted 78 home visits to date, and these are already giving us extremely useful information about the impact of this pilot programme. The results below are from our findings on these home visits, we will collect more in-depth data and information through our endline survey.


Some early findings from our home visits

  • Just 5% (four women) told us they do not use the baby box

One of these mums mentioned that she fears visitors will judge her. Others mentioned that their baby was not comfortable in the box, and that it was not culturally acceptable for a baby to sleep in a baby box


  • 87% only use the baby box during the day

Roughly 10% use the baby box during both the day and the night. This suggests that the boxes themselves do not discourage cosleeping at night. However many mums found the box incredibly useful during the day, particularly those who had to return quickly to work and took the box with them to keep the baby safely by their side. 91% of women told us that they slept with their baby at night. 


  • 54% of women use additional bedding when cold


  • 40% of women only use the bedding provided by


  • 82% percent of women read the instructions on the lid of the box about safe sleeping

Of these women, we found that 14 did not understand the intructions.


  • 95% of mums received their postnatal check up

And most received it early: 42% of women came back for their post-natal check ups after two weeks, 30% after one week, 3% after three weeks, one percent at 4 weeks, 19% after more than 4 weeks.


  • 96% of women are exclusively breastfeeding

However, 22% reported that they had trouble breastfeeding, with issues including painful breasts, not enough milk being produced, mastitis and the issues with latching the baby to the breast in the correct way. 


  • 33% of women lacked a support system around them

We're discovering more and more that mums, even in bustling Nairobi, lack a source of emotional support and advice.


​We are hoping to have handed out all the baby boxes by November, if not before, and we also hope to begin the endline survey. This is the final question and answer feedback sheet we fill out by interviewing the women who received the baby box. This will be an in-depth survey on maternal and child healthcare that will help us find out the impact of the project, where progress can be made and difficulties solved.

We aim to have the endline survey completed by the end of November. We look forward to sharing the results with you!


You can read more about our Baby Box programme at If you like the way do things, please consider supporting us with a donation, so we can reach more mums and babies. Thank you!

This blog was edited by Millie Shoebridge on her Charity Fast-Track Content Placement. If you wish you worked at, you should apply for Charity Fast-Track