A good day to be ‘Born in Brooklyn’: Beep launches free postpartum and baby supply program

supplies in born in brooklyn box
Brooklyn Borough President this week announced “Born in Brooklyn,” a pilot program that will send 500 new parents home with free baby and postpartum supplies.
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso

Some new parents in Brooklyn will soon be headed home from the hospital with a box full of baby supplies and resources, courtesy of Borough President Antonio Reynoso and the Met Council’s new initiative “Born in Brooklyn.”

Reynoso has pledged to make Brooklyn the safest place in the city to give birth — and, as part of that promise, he wants to make taking the baby home a little easier, too. His office granted $100,000 to the Met Council, who will facilitate the construction and distribution of a number of “Born in Brooklyn” baby boxes this month.

brooklyn borough president at born in brooklyn launch
The “Born in Brooklyn” boxes will contain supplies like diapers, wipes, nipple cream and postpartum pads to ease the transition into new parenthood. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso

The boxes will be stuffed with supplies chosen by the beep’s Maternal Health Taskforce, including diapers, wipes, nursing pads, nipple cream, postpartum pads, and swaddles. Tucked inside each box will be a brief resource guide with links to city services and other helpful information.

“The time after having a baby can be both beautiful and intense, with new parents facing postpartum recovery, financial pressures, and new responsibilities,” Reynoso said in a statement. “My hope is that these ‘Born in Brooklyn’ baby boxes and the items carefully selected by our fantastic maternal health task force can help lessen that burden on families so they can focus on caring for their newest family member as well as their own mental and physical wellbeing.”

The pilot program will distribute 500 “Born in Brooklyn” boxes to new parents at five hospitals and health centers — NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, the Caribbean Women’s Health Association, the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, and the Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center.

In New York City, the rate of “pregnancy-associated deaths” in 2018 was 36.7 per 100,000 live births. That data includes deaths that occurred in the year after birth — which can be caused by pregnancy and postpartum complications including mental health issues, hemorrhage, embolisms, and more.

Black birthing people in New York City are more than twice as likely to die due to pregnancy and birth-related complications than their white counterparts, and, in 2018, Brooklyn recorded the highest number of pregnancy-related deaths in the city.

This year, Reynoso allocated his entire capital budget to maternal health — granting three city hospitals millions of dollars to upgrade their maternity wards, NICUs, and birth centers

reynoso maternal health
Reynoso allocated all of his 2022 capital budget to maternal health — giving three local hospitals billions of dollars for new and improved maternal health and birth facilities. File photo courtesy of Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso

The “Born in Brooklyn” initiative aims to ease the burden on new parents and reduce the mortality rate in the first year after birth by providing a little bit of financial and mental-health support, according to the beep’s office. Baby and postpartum supplies can be pricey, and recovering from childbirth is difficult physically and emotionally — especially if one or both parents have to take unpaid time off.

“South Brooklyn Health is thankful for the support of Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso and the Met Council for providing Black and brown families of South Brooklyn and surrounding communities with baby-friendly supplies that are not always easily accessible, but essential in caring for mom and baby,” said South Brooklyn Health OB/GYN Chair Dr. Maggie Tetrokalashvili in a statement. “Eliminating disparities in maternal mortality between women of color is an integral component of the care delivered at South Brooklyn Health, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Borough President in achieving health care equity.”

Correction 11/4/22, 3:12pm: This story previously said the Borough President’s office granted $500,000 to the “Born in Brooklyn” initiative — the correct figure is $100,000. We regret the error.