Finland’s “Baby Box”

Thanks to Wikimedia user TUBS for the image.

What if you knew that upon giving birth to your child, some of her or his basic needs for clothing, blankets, and diapers would be met? Well, let me tell you about a place I like to call… Finland.

Yes, Finland. As described on Mothering.com, the so-called baby box “has been available in Finland to low-income mothers since 1937 and to all mothers since 1949. Each year, the designs and colors vary, creating allegiances of palettes and nostalgia for those special colors of infancy.” One of the main goals of this practice is to emphasize a message of social justice for all families: “While the box alone cannot create material equality for all babies born in this country, it is only one of many benefits designed to give children a good, fair start to life.”

Curious what’s in one of these boxes? Click here to have a look at 2011′s maternity package. I like the fact that they include a snowsuit because, well, it snows a TON that far north, plus that kind of expense could really set a new family back a decent chunk of change. Also notable is the fact that all of the clothes and accessories are gender-neutral, so they can be worn by whoever, boy or girl or in between. This is a nice change from the “girl=pink, boy=blue” clothing often seen in American baby supply stores.

What do you think of this practice? Is it a good use of government money? Is there something in particular you’d like to see in a baby box for everyone?

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About Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.

  • Michaela

    This is awesome! Though it just further proves how behind the US is…we’re one of the only countries that doesn’t have paid maternity leave. We all came from somewhere, why don’t we value the mommas more?