For parents-to-be, planning and designing a nursery can be a lot of fun. But it's also a luxury not every parent can afford.

That top-of-the-line crib from Pottery Barn sure is gorgeous, but it's out of reach for many people. Even a new crib from a big-box store might not be in the budget. Many new parents don't even have the space for a dedicated nursery.

But the baby's coming regardless, and it needs a safe place to sleep. So what's a parent to do?


Countries around the world, and the United States, more recently, are giving out baby boxes — simple cardboard boxes with a small cushion that can serve as a perfectly suitable bed for newborn babies.

The boxes also come with some basic supplies to get new parents through those first handful of rough nights at home. Though simple in concept, these boxes have been shown to drastically decrease infant mortality rates in areas where they're available.

But what exactly does a baby box look like? And what's inside? I got one from The Baby Box Company so we could find out.

The folks at The Baby Box Company sent me one of the free boxes used during the program launch in Virginia; this is what new parents there get in exchange for completing an online parenting class.

The first thing you'll notice is that the baby box comes inside another box. You won't want your baby to sleep in that outer one, but it's big enough that it might come in handy if you ever move — or if you need a makeshift sled next time it snows.

All photos by Evan Porter/Upworthy.

Inside, you'll find the goodies. The actual baby box itself comes packed flat and assembles with just a few folds and a tucked tab or two.

There are pretty detailed visual instructions in case you take a wrong turn somewhere. IKEA would be proud.

(Attention experienced DIYers: Read the instructions. Your infant will be sleeping here; better to do it right.)

Voila! It only takes a minute or two to fully assemble the box. (Take that, fancy cribs.)

When it comes to baby boxes, the name of the game is safety. So there's also a helpful reminder to not put anything besides your baby in the box.

For the uninitiated, it might seem counter-intuitive to not put any blankets or pillows in with your baby, but it's a critical thing to remember.

And then there's the mattress, of course.

It fits perfectly inside the box.

There. Doesn't that look cozy?

The baby box is more than just a temporary crib. It also comes with some super clutch supplies inside to help parents through those first few days.

First of all, I super appreciate that shampoo, body wash, and deodorant are included. New parents, don't forget to take care of yourselves too.

When you first bring your baby home, you will definitely forget about things like eating and personal hygiene. Something as simple as a hot shower can definitely help keep you sane and prepared to care for your infant.

There's also a starter pack of Pampers newborn diapers, complete with an adorable tip on how to create your own "diaper song."

The company says this is a proven, if silly, way to help new parents bond with their babies.

Then there's a sampler of Diaper Doo — lotion used to treat bad diaper rashes.

It's a lifesaver for any parent.

Next up is a pack of wet wipes, of which you can never have too many.

There's also a nice reminder to talk to your baby about textures to help them learn.

The box even comes with laundry detergent tabs because they know running the washing machine multiple times per day is your life now.

What the baby box provides barely scratches the surface of what the baby will need, so it also comes with some really handy coupons to help restock on diapers, wipes, and more.

It's certainly not everything you need, but the baby box is a pretty good start.

For anyone on a tight budget, or even someone caught unprepared for the baby's arrival, a box like this could be an actual lifesaver.

OK, so how do you get a baby box? It's pretty easy in most places.

A few states (New Jersey, Ohio, and Alabama — with more on the way) offer a free box program, where expecting parents can go online, take a quick child education course, and get a no-cost baby box in return.

Even if you can't get one for free, you can order a box straight from The Baby Box Company starting at around $70, which sure beats a $500 designer crib.

Bringing a new baby into your world is chaotic, stressful, and challenging at best. It's cool to see a push toward simplicity really catching on and making a difference.

Update 10/10/2017: Oops! The baby boxes come with laundry detergent as pictured, not dishwasher detergent. Sleep-deprived parents will understand how easy it is to make this mistake.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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