A Scottish mom showed what's in the $200 'Baby Box' of essentials that's gifted to all newborns nationally, as American viewers looked on with envy and awe

  • In 2017, Scotland started gifting boxes of baby essentials to all newborns nationally.

  • One mom's unboxing went viral on TikTok, sparking incredulity among American viewers.

  • However, despite wide acclaim, the $112 million investment has been met with some criticism that it's a "gimmick."

A Scottish mommy vlogger showed what's inside the annual "Baby Box" that the country has been gifting to newborns and new parents since 2017. The unboxing has gone viral on TikTok, as foreign viewers lauded the initiative with envy.

On Tuesday, Rachel Clenaghan — who vlogs about pregnancy and motherhood to 28,000 followers on the platform — shared her Baby Box when she was 36 weeks pregnant.

"The point in the box is so that every baby has got the same start in life," she said in a clip with 2.8 million views, "and the actual box itself is made so that a baby can actually sleep in it."

According to the Scottish government, the Baby Box initiative launched in 2017 for all babies born on or after August 15 to "make sure that Scotland was the best place in the world to grow up in." In its first five years, Scotland has delivered more than 241,000 boxes, its website touts.

Some of the items Clenaghan unboxed included: reusable diapers, maternity and breast pads, a playmat and travel changing mat, a teething toy, a baby toothbrush and nail file, a wide assortment of gender-neutral clothes, condoms, and a mattress with fitted sheets that can be placed back in the box as a makeshift bed.

American commenters were in awe and incredulous. "In America we get medical malpractice, a huge bill, and no protected maternity leave," one commenter wrote. "I clearly need to get on a plane."

Others noted that searching for the term "baby box" on TikTok in America drew up drastically different results – and more commonly referred to a device where unwanted babies can be placed to prevent illegal abandonment. "A 'baby box' here in the US is [a] place where mothers put their kids that they don't want," a commenter noted.

Fellow TikToker Jen Hamilton, a self-described labor nurse, reacted to Clenaghan's unboxing in a duet with 4.3 million views.

"(Cries in America)," she wrote in the on-screen text as she's seen with her mouth agape as Clenaghan's entire video plays.

Viewers echoed her envy and awe. One commenter under Hamilton's video noted that the venture was actually "inspired by the Finnish baby box that has been around since 1949 (and from the 1920s in diff formats)."

While Scottish Baby Boxes have been widely lauded on social media, there are detractors. In July, The Telegraph reported that a government-backed study out of the University of Glasgow found that the boxes had failed to reduce infant mortality, despite the fact that Nicola Sturgeon, the former first minister of Scotland, called it one of her "proudest achievements."

Furthermore, Sturgeon's former poverty advisor, Naomi Eisenstadt, had branded the initiative a "gimmick," according to the outlet.

The Telegraph reported that the boxes contained roughly £160 — or $200 — worth of goods apiece, and that the Scottish government had spent roughly £90 million ($112 million) on the initiative over the past six years.

Insider has reached out to Clenaghan and Hamilton for comment.

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