Since the 1930s Finland has been giving expectant parents a box for their baby.  It sounds strange but keep reading to find out what it’s all about.

It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and its designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life.

The Finnish Government found that their infant mortality rates in the 1930s were at an all time high.  With the introduction of the Infant Boxes to low income families in the 30s you see a drop in infant mortality and with the introduction of the Baby Box to all families in the 40s you see a rapid decline in baby infant mortality.  Whilst other factors are at play also such as improved prenatal care, a national health insurance system introduced in the 60s, there is a noticeable impact from the Baby Box.  Finland now has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world!

Infant mortality in Finland

Mothers must go for a prenatal visit with their doctor within the first four months  of becoming pregnant and they are given the choice between a cash grant of around $140 euros or the box.

“95% of families go with the baby box!”

The box comes not empty but filled with things that new parents will need for the first few months of their babies life.  This includes clothing such as snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties, light hooded suit and overalls, socks and mittens, knitted hat and balaclava, bodysuits, romper suits and leggings all in unisex colors so can be passed down to new babies that come along.  A hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, thermometer, nappy cream, washcloth, cloth nappy set and muslin squares, picture book and teething toy, breastfeeding bra pads and condoms to reduce the risk of a new baby arriving sooner than planned.

Once all the contents has been removed you find at the bottom of the box a mattress, mattress cover, undersheet, duvet cover, blanket, sleeping bag/quilt and the box itself doubles as a crib.  Babies used to and still do sleep in the same bed as their parents and it was recommended that they stop.  Including the box as a bed meant people started to let their babies sleep separately from them.  Which meant better sleep for mum, but also for baby.

“A recent report stated Finnish mums are the happiest in the world!”

I think I might need to move to Finland when I have kids ;).  This was of particular interest to me.  In this day and age we go out and buy all these things for the arrival of a new born baby, spending money on beds, beautiful linen, decorating ect ect when in actual fact, the first few months the baby spends the majority of their time with the mother or feeding or sleeping.  Could that money that is spent on making a pinterest worthy bedroom for a newborn baby be better spent elsewhere?

Now I don’t have kids and maybe when I have my own I will feel different, but I am attracted to the simplicity that certain cultures live in, whether it be European or Asian or African.  I think there is something we can all learn from.  Most of the time, less is actually more.

Another interesting articles on babies in the Nordic countries having their naps . . . outdoors, even in minus temperatures.


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