Finnish Box Babies

cardboardbox

Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes:

You can breathe a sigh of relief. This isn’t a story about some child abuse trend in Finland, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

I found the above article from the BBC quite fascinating. It’s about how mothers of newborns in Finland receive these care packages from the government after the births of their babies including a cardboard box with a little mattress in the bottom of that can be used as a bed. Here are the contents of the package…

  • 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 set and muslin squares
  • Picture book and teething toy
  • Bra pads, condoms

I’m pretty sure the bra pads and condoms are not for the baby.

Anyway the reason I bring this up is because it seems to be a common belief in Finland that they have a very low infant mortality rate because of these care packages. In order to qualify for one expectant mothers would have to seek pre-natal care before the fourth month of pregnancy. It’s obviously working because Finland went from having 65 out of 1000 infants dying in the 1930s to having one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

The reason I bring this up is because while the US has a respectable infant mortality rate it could be improved. We’re supposed to be the most medically advanced country in the world yet we have nowhere near Finland’s success rate.

My question to you is would such a care package reduce the infant mortality rate here in the states?

  • Vl

    Finland also have free healthcare, free higher education and added tax for fat people. Just sayin’

    • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

      Australia has free health care & free higher education too…our infant mortality rate isn’t as respectable as Finland.

      Prenatal care is so important for the health & safety of both mother & child which is why this program is so successful. Prenatal care doesn’t just make sure the baby is growing properly & has everything it’s supposed to, it is also an opportunity for healthcare professionals to assess the mental status of the mother, the home situation, discover any drug use, etc etc.

      These program’s cost so very little in the grand scheme of things & more countries would do well to adopt a similar model!

  • Jenny Rosenquist

    To the question itself, my answer would be: absolutely! With the caveat that the prenatal care/classes prerequisite comes with it.

    There is something similar in place already, here in the states… Unfortunately it’s not very well known and isn’t brought up outside of economic assistance facilities, so if a woman isn’t “in the system” already, she won’t know it exists.

    Various private charities, and some state programs offer various things–clothes, baby necessities, newborn & infant carseats, eve cribs/furniture!–accessible after a certain amount of parenting classes are verifiably acquired. Even WIC has jumped on the bandwagon–at every 3rd month interval, you must have __x__ hours of nutritional education completed.

    Back in the day, I was blessed enough to be informed of–and thusly access–St.Vincent’s (diapers, furniture, even free books, they also run a food pantry) and other charities that I can’t recall the name of. Many of these are run by local churches, and they won’t even “preach at” you for assistance. Where I live now, Lake Pointe Church will even proffer nondescript financial assistance (diapers, gas money, utility bills, etc.) to eligible families, including those of non-members.

  • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

    When I find out that a good friend or relative is pregnant I start a basket. I buy a big white square basket from our local homeward store & every shopping day (once a week) I buy two items. It might be wipes or nursing pads or rash cream or nappies or maternity pads or nipple cream or nappies or a wondersuit or singlets or socks…you get the picture…anyway, by the time bub arrives the basket is overflowing & the new Mum pretty much doesn’t have to shop for basics for a while! When my sister was pregnant I did the same for her & her hubby except I added a few extras (she is my sister after all)…vouchers for groceries, a massage, house cleaning, a restaurant that does take away meals, a fuel card & a few really cute outfits for my nephew.

    • Artemis

      WOW! Just…WOW!
      What a scathingly brilliant idea!

      • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

        I’m confused a to why you think this is a bad idea?

        • Aussie Sabbath

          I don’t think @804145e0701564f751a998c3d63fc659:disqus was being sarcastic…

  • Cheeseburger Sanchez

    I see it going one of two ways in the US. 1) the pack would start showing up on Craigslist, because some “poor single mom of 15”, thinks she can sell it for funds to me BD #16, or 2) mom would put all of the stuff back in the box, on top of the baby. Baby would suffocate. Mommy would sue the government for not stupid proofing the box. Program would be abolished.

    • http://trench.co Trench Reynolds

      Unfortunately this is the way I would see it going in the US too.

      • Artemis

        Not to mention that the Religious Right would scream at the inclusion of condoms & the pop-a-babe-a-year folks would scream because no passy was provided & the bra pads weren’t disposable & had to be washed.

    • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

      The more I read this blog the more convinced I am that there’s really not much difference between the US & Australia…we have more native wildlife trying to kill us on a daily basis but thats seems to be about it!

  • megan Kitchen

    A Box! Why didn’t I think of that! My daughter is a month old and we ended up having to buy a second sleeper for the bedroom because the one we had was too large to fit, but she crys so quietly that we can’t hear her, even with a monitor from her bedroom. Honestly, if I could order that sort of care package for a reasonable price, I would do so in a heartbeat. I also second that it would really help out low income families (being part of one myself). If there was an easy cheap or free option for room shareing, i think co sleeping would be less common, which would drop the infant mortality rate. I agree that interventions with birth do add to the issue but I don’t think csections are the only culprit. And if everyone got the care package, then there would be little demand for the basic generic clothing so it would be harder to sell it for other things. I got lucky and got hand me downs for almost everything and only had to buy a sleeper for our room, a crib matress, and bottles/pump, but even I could see that kit being useful.

    • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

      We used a Moses basket which my Dad made a stand for that I put next to my bed. It worked really well for about three weeks…then my chunky monkeys grew out of it & had to go in the cot!

  • Aussie Sabbath

    These are a great idea! My uncle, his partner and my two baby cousins just moved here from the UK and we were scrambling to get things for them such as a cot, high chair, car seats etc. Not everyone knows exactly what you need for a newborn baby, so a care package is a great idea for new parents who may not have had exposure to babies.
    Although in some parts I can see some of the baby clothes being traded for a 6 pack of VB and a carton of Winfield Reds :(

    • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

      You spelled that incorrectly…it’s not Winfield, it’s Winnie. Lol

  • Buffettgirl

    I think it would help greatly, especially for lower-income families/mothers. Taking some of the financial burden out of trying to prepare for an infant might make stress level drop dramatically and might also help to make ends meet as well as making the purchase of needed things not provided a little easier to do.

  • SNS

    The U.S. does not have a respectable infant mortality rate unfortunately. If you look at statistics involving only developed nations, the U.S. is one of the worst. What Finland offers doesn’t necessarily surprise me considering they have one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

  • Jess

    The reason the U.S.A. has a high infant death rate is because too many women are getting Caesarian sections often medically unnecessary. The European Union has a low mortality rate because midwives attend homebirths and mothers only get C-sections if there is clear and present danger to the mother and child like placenta previa and preeclampsia.

    • kayteakay

      Amen! I find it pathetic when women opt to have a c section because they are afraid of labor.

    • holliesangel

      Infant mortality rates are a measure of pediatric care, not obstetric care. It counts deaths from 1 month of age to 1 year. Perinatal mortality is the measure used for obstetric care and it covers infant death from 24 weeks gestation to 1 month after birth. This is to account for stillbirths, preemies, genetic abnormalities, etc. Thusly, manner of birth has little to do with Infant mortality rates because that isn’t what its supposed to be measuring for to begin with.