The financial burden of having a newborn baby weighs heavily on many families. The average Canadian family spends at least $8,000 within the first year of having a child, and this average is even higher in other countries.
In some countries, there are some programs that supplement these costs, but at the end of the day, children are still expensive to raise in modern society!
Finland’s Innovative Boxes for Babies
For the past 80 years, Finland has been gifting care packages to all newborn babies. These aren’t your average gift baskets for new mothers featuring flowers and shower products; they’re much larger and designed with new parents in mind, typically including 80 items such as gender neutral baby clothes for all seasons, outdoor sleeping bags, breast pads, condoms, and nappies.
Some families will even use the cardboard box it comes in as a bed for their newborn. Though it was originally launched as a program for low income families, all families now receive a baby box, regardless of their total income. It’s essentially just a gift from the government, welcoming new babies into society.
Finnish parents have the option to receive cash instead of the baby box, but this is an unpopular choice. The cash given to parents would be €140, whereas the box is valued at around €400.
Since implementing the distribution of the baby boxes, infant mortality rates have drastically decreased in Finland. Finland represents exactly the type of change we wish to see in the world. Once a nation that suffered from poverty and poor health, Finland is now well-known for their advanced maternity care systems.
Scotland Just Implemented the Same Tradition
A similar program was launched in Scotland in January, which is expected to be fully rolled out by summer 2017. Just like Finland, all newborn babies in Scotland will receive their own little baby box.
“We promised a baby box of all essential items for all newborns. It’s a policy borrowed from Finland where it’s contributed to the lowest rates of child mortality in the world,” the Scottish First Minister explained.
Childcare Minister Mark McDonald said, “I’m delighted to announce that all babies due in Scotland on or after 15 August 2017 will receive a baby box as part of the national roll-out.
“Scotland’s baby box will help tackle deprivation, improve health and support parents, and we’re proud to introduce it in Scotland.”
“It will include materials to promote the best possible outcomes for children and the box itself will also provide a safe space for babies to sleep near their parents, to promote bonding and early attachment.”
“As the scheme formally begins our delivery partners will work hard to deliver as many boxes as quickly as possible to ensure new parents can start to use them straight away.”
“And from January 2018, all baby boxes will be delivered at least four weeks before the baby’s due date.”
Some of the items included in the Scottish baby boxes include a changing mat, thermometer, winter jacket, towels, nappies, baby books, and organic sponges. In addition, the Scottish boxes featured sleeping materials such as a mattress, sheets, and blankets.
These countries have really set an example when it comes to supporting families with newborn babies. At the end of the day, child care is a full-time job, and one that is extremely costly in today’s societies.
These boxes are offered to everyone in a gesture of support and equality. All mothers, fathers, and babies could use a little extra love and care, regardless of their current income status.
My only concern with these boxes would be any potential chemicals hidden in the baby products. Though the press never mentioned any skincare or personal products, who knows if they will eventually be put in these boxes (or if they are/were).
Whatever we put on our skin ends up being absorbed into our bodies. So many of us apply toxic creams, makeup, and other personal care products to our bodies without even reading the ingredients. Newborn babies have particularly sensitive skin, and so it’s crucial that parents educate themselves on which products should be avoided when it comes to their children!
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