Mothers who live in Finland get to take home everything above when they bring home their new baby. In a government program that started in the 1930s, moms receive maternity boxes to help them care for their new child. Finland had an extremely high newborn mortality rate in the 30s, which has plummeted over the year, according to the BBC.
In the 1930s and 40s, the box was only available for low-income families, but in 1949 it became available for everyone.
Here’s what every new mother gets:
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 (diaper) set and muslin squares
Picture book and teething toy
Bra pads, condoms
The contents of the box change with the times. At one point the box contained disposable diapers, but they decided to go back to cloth because those are more environmentally friendly. The earliest versions of the box contained fabric for the mothers to make their own baby clothes.
The mattress is included to discourage families from sleeping with their newborn. If a crib isn’t available, the baby can actually sleep in the box with the mattress for a while. Mothers also have the choice of taking a cash grant instead of the box, which amounts to about $200. In order to get the box expectant mother have to visit a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy.
Here’s an older version of the maternity pack:
Should something like this be offered in the U.S. and other countries?