Mummy Buzz


The Best Baby Gift is This Cardboard Box

Love, the finnish government

Moms, you may want to pack your bags and move to Finland. For the past 75 years, pregnant women are given a cool perk from the state: a box.

Not just any old box, but a trousseau of all the must-have baby items from clothes to sheets to toys. But the best part is the box itself, which doubles as a cot and is credited with Finland's low infant mortality rate. Think of it as a shower gift from the government, guaranteed to give all Finnish babies the best start in life, no matter what circumstances they're born into.

Dating back to 1938, the box was brought into effect because infant mortality in Finland was high and people were poor.  

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"Not only was it offered to all mothers-to-be, but new legislation meant that in order to get the grant - or maternity box - women had to visit a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy," says Heidi Liesivesi, a worker at Kela, Finland's social insurance institution.

Thankfully the box tradition is still going strong. Though moms have a choice between a cash handout worth 140 euros ( approximately $195) and the box, most choose for the latter because the contents are worth so much.

Here is a typical contents list, though the items evolve to reflect the changing times. Colours come gender neutral:

  • Mattress, mattress cover, undersheet, duvet cover, blanket, sleeping bag/quilt
  • Box itself doubles as a crib
  • Snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties
  • Light hooded suit and knitted overalls
  • Socks and mittens, knitted hat and balaclava
  • Bodysuits, romper suits and leggings in unisex colours and patterns
  • Hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, bath thermometer, nappy cream, wash cloth
  • Cloth nappy set and muslin squares
  • Picture book and teething toy
  • Bra pads, condoms

What a simple, pragmatic gesture... What do you say, Canada? Maybe we could take some cues from a government that places great value on all its tiniest of citizens.  

You tell me: What was the best baby gift you received?

Image Source: WikiCommons