While you're busy preparing for baby showers and making budgets to buy all of the baby stuff you'll need for your little one, women in Finland are gifted with a maternity package. The package is a gift from the Finnish government and is a tradition that goes back to the 1930s.
No matter the background a woman comes from, they all receive a box so that their children are given an equal start in life, the British Broadcasting Channel said. In the box are bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products, diapers and bedding.
There's even a small mattress that comes with the box, making it the perfect place for your baby to sleep during their first few weeks of life. The source reported that many children born in Finland, no matter their social background, take their first naps in the cardboard box.
For the women that already have everything they need, they can opt for a cash grant of 140 euros. However, the BBC said that 95 percent of women choose the box because it's worth more.
History of the box
Maternity packages are a Finnish tradition that dates back to 1938, when the box was originally only available to low-income families but has since been given to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, since 1949. Today, many women see it as a rite of passage toward motherhood, but it's done much more than that.
In the 1930s, Finland was a poor country with a high infant mortality rate with approximately 65 out of 1,000 babies dying. However, the country did what it could in order to help those numbers decline. According to the source, all mothers-to-be were required to visit a doctor or pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy in order to be given a box or the grant. Then, in the 1960s, the country's health insurance system and central hospital network were established, which also helped infant mortality rates decline.
"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," Finnish mother Titta Vayrynen told the source. "We are very well taken care of, even now when some public services have been cut down a little."
The maternity package
When women are given the maternity package, they'll find the following products:
- Mattress, mattress cover
- Undersheet, duvet cover, blanket, sleeping bag/quilt
- Box that doubles as a crib
- Snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties
- Light hooded suit and knitted overalls
- Socks and mittens, knitted hat
- Bodysuits, rompers and leggings in unisex colors and patterns
- Hooded bath towel, nail clippers, hairbrush, toothbrush, bath thermometer, diaper cream and a wash cloth
- Cloth diaper set and swaddle blankets
- Picture book and teething toy
- Bra pads for breastfeeding and condoms (because believe it or not, it's exceptionally easy to get pregnant shortly after giving birth)
Not only does the box provide money- and or time-saving products for soon-to-be mothers, but it also serves as a symbol of equality and the importance of children in Finland.