Five hundred expectant parents are to receive a "little baby bundle" worth €300 as part of a Government pilot scheme.

The bundle for new parents will contain useful items "to support new parents after the birth" such as a reusable nappy, maternity pads, and bibs.

From February 2023, 500 expectant parents across two hospitals will be invited to participate in this pilot initiative by completing a form at their hospital following their 20-week scan.

The baby bundle will be delivered to the homes of participating parents at a time of their choosing and their feedback will inform proposals for a wider roll-out.

The scheme was launched by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman in collaboration with the Rotunda Hospital and University Hospital Waterford.

"The gift is an acknowledgement from the State of the very significant and special moment for parents, and is designed to promote the health and wellbeing of newborns and support new parents in the first days and weeks after the birth of a baby," the Department said in a statement.

"The little baby bundle has an estimated value of €300 and will be filled with a range of useful items, including play items to encourage early communication and bonding, household items for help with safe bathing and safe sleep, as well as a range of other items to support new parents after the birth," it added.

Minister O'Gorman said the first few weeks of a newborn’s life is "so special to families".

"We want to help new parents by providing them with practical supports while they navigate those first few weeks and months.

Key health messages on breastfeeding, safe sleep, and postnatal depression will also be provided in Irish and English.

The bundle includes a hooded bath towel, ababy vest, muslin squares, socks, nappy cream, a reusable nappy, reusable Nappy Liners, nipple cream, nursing pads, maternity pads, reusable wipes, a digital/smart thermometer, a soft-bristle hair brush, children’s books in Irish and English, a play mat, a bath and room thermometer, a teething ring, a baby blanket, mittens, a manual breast pump, a bath sponge, a baby grow, a sling, a soft ball, a baby toothbrush, a baby monitor, a nasal sucker, a travel bag, a changing mat, a dribble big, a feeding bib, a sun hat and a comforter.