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Social Issues
Finland’s Awesome Care Package For New Moms & Babies
June 16, 2013
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This is becoming a bit of theme for us, but the Scandanavians just seem to have it right when it comes to quality of life.

Take this story we came across entitled 'Why Finnish Babies Sleep In Cardboard Boxes'.

Sounds a little cruel at first, but here's the deal. The box is actually a gift from the government for every soon-to-be mother in Finland.

It's a tradition that goes back 75 years to the 1930s, and it's pretty sweet.

The box has everything you can think of - clothes, jumpers, sheets, diapers, bath products for the baby, toys, a picture book, a sleeping bag, and outdoor gear.

There's even a small mattress, because the box can be converted into a baby's first bed - similar to a bassinet so babies can get used to sleeping on their own.

Another bonus: everything comes in gender neutral colours so parents can use it for a girl or a boy and save the stuff if they have another child.

If a woman doesn't want the box, she gets a cash grant worth about $185. But most women (95%) go for the maternity box.

Back in the 30s, Finland was a poor country with a high infant mortality rate - 65 out of 1,000 babies died.

But over the years things improved, and now Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

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Some say the government maternity gift has played a role in that, and helped unite women and families of different generations.

The idea, the BBC reports, is to "give all children in Finland, no matter what background they're from, an equal start in life."

Some families couldn't afford to buy everything provided in the box, while for others it's a huge time saver and stress reliever.

As Titta Vayrynen, a mother with two young boys, told the BBC...

"There was a recent report saying that Finnish mums are the happiest in the world, and the box was one thing that came to my mind. We are very well taken care of, even now when some public services have been cut down a little."

Along the way, baby bottles and soothers were removed to encourage breastfeeding.

"One of the main goals of the whole system was to get women to breastfeed more," said Panu Pulma, a professor in Finnish and Nordic History at the University of Helsinki.

And, he says, "It's happened."

Not only that, but Pulma believes the box is a symbol of equality and of the importance of children.

via the BBC

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