Finnish baby boxes for everybody

My cousin Adam sent me this interesting story about why every newborn Finnish baby spends time in a cardboard box. In fact, this special box that almost ever Finnish mother gets is a universal experience for all classes, a cultural touchstone for several generations.

From the Helena Lee story at the BBC:

It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it’s designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life.

The maternity package – a gift from the government – is available to all expectant mothers.

It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.

With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.

The program started almost 80 years ago as a way to encourage new mothers to go to the doctor for prenatal visits. But the results were so positive (Finland has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates) that the program was soon expanded to the entire population. The story goes on to detail how these boxes begin to define early life, how the clothes are shared, and how people identify with style signified by the boxes and clothing of their birth years.

Check it out.

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