How’s this for a pregnancy perk? In Finland, expectant mothers can choose to receive a 140 euro grant or a cardboard box full to the brim with everything to start baby off right. Since the box of goodies has more value than just the euros, most mothers choose option two.
The box comes packed with an impressive assortment of gender-neutral clothes, toiletries, and toys for baby as well as some post-birth necessities for mom like bra pads, condoms (ha!), and a cheap alternative to a crib, since the box contains a small mattress at the bottom and is used by many first-time mothers as a crib!
“I had never considered putting my baby to sleep in a cardboard box,” says Mark Bosworth, “but if it's good enough for the majority of Finns, then why not? [My son] Jasper slept in it — as you might expect — like a baby.”
Not only do the contents of the box include a multitude of items worth a pretty penny, saving parents the cost of many necessary first-time items, but receiving most of the necessities in one simple package also saves time. Titta Vayrynen, 35, says she appreciated the box because she was working long hours while pregnant and it saved her the strain of comparison shopping.
Believe it or not, this traditional care package is 75 years old this year and is considered a rite of passage for many Finnish women.
"It was lovely and exciting to get it and somehow the first promise to the baby," says 49-year-old Reija Klemetti. "My mum, friends and relatives were all eager to see what kind of things were inside and what colors they'd chosen for that year."
Overall, the maternity box stands as a symbol of equality and support for all Finnish families. “This felt to me like evidence that someone cared, someone wanted our baby to have a good start in life,” Mark says. “And now when I visit friends with young children it's nice to see we share some common things. It strengthens that feeling that we are all in this together.”
What are your feelings on Finland’s maternity box? Share below!