Shop Etsy

Noted: Finland’s Baby Boxes

Oct 6, 2011

by Chappell Ellison

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

In Finland, one of the greatest gifts an expecting mother receives is not from a friend or loved one — it comes from the government. Commonly referred to as a “baby box,” the Finnish government sends every mother a collection of basic needs for a baby’s first year, packaged inside a box that even doubles as an infant’s bed. What’s more, if a mother chooses to buy her own baby gear, the government provides grant money instead of the baby box. Not only is this public benefit essential for mothers who may find themselves unprepared financially, but it is also a positive encouragement from the government, giving a sense of security to a woman who may really need it.

Regina Yunghans of Odeedoh recently pointed to a post over on Mothering.com, in which Michele Simeon, a new American mother living in Finland, shares her experience of welcoming a baby into a foreign country. After learning about Finland’s baby boxes, Simeon eagerly awaited the delivery: “I pounced on my daughter Hilla’s baby box like it was the biggest, best Christmas present I’d ever received — that is, after hauling it uphill during a heat wave, eight months of pregnant belly weighing me down.” Filled with breast pads for mom, bibs, snowsuits and towels, Hilla was well-prepared for her first 6-months, including the harsh, impending winter. Though she outgrew many of the items by the time she was seven months old, Hilla grew into other outfits, and continued to make use of the box’s contents on a daily basis. An inventory of the 2010 baby box can be found here.

I can’t help but be a little jealous of Finnish parents, not just because they get a free box of cool goodies, but that their government greets every one of its new citizens with a gift that symbolizes a commitment toward its future leaders. “While the box alone cannot create material equality for all babies born in [Finland], it is only one of many benefits designed to give children a good, fair start to life,” explains Simeon. For a new parent, such a vote of confidence from the government can do wonders in maintaining a positive attitude in child rearing. When I look around my own community, I do observe many public benefits for children, but nothing quite as unique as the baby box. Would such a gift from the government translate to other countries, and if so, what would it look like?

More Noted Posts | Baby Category

2 Featured Comments

  • MariaHelenaDesign

    MariaHelenaDesign said 5 years ago Featured

    The 'baby box', aka 'motherhood help' was started in 1937 initially to help out poor families. A high infant mortality rate, and the need to get all mothers into the healthcare system were the main drivers behind the idea. Since 1949 it has been given to all mothers. Currently Finland has the 5th lowest infant mortality rate. Finland also has paid maternal and paternal(!) leave, and each family is paid approx $150 per child per month until the child turns 17. Yes, the taxes are high, but we also have free education. And no, high taxes do not equal socialism.

  • Arcana83

    Arcana83 said 5 years ago Featured

    AND most of the products in the "baby box" are made in Finland, which is great and benefits the economy. Always when a friend of mine gets her babybox, everyone gathers around and wants to see what`s new this year. Even I , like most of us Finns, have slept my first months in the baby box, as it works as a baby´s first bed as well.

145 comments

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 5 years ago

    'their government greets every one of its new citizens with a gift that symbolizes a commitment toward its future leaders.' Loved this comment.

  • minouette

    minouette said 5 years ago

    What a wonderful idea and a strong message of equality of their newest and smallest citizens.

  • softearthart

    softearthart said 5 years ago

    A great idea, cheers from New Zealand

  • MistyAurora

    MistyAurora said 5 years ago

    What a fantastic gesture.

  • Wooda2008

    Wooda2008 said 5 years ago

    So neat! Wished they did it in the USA as well. All we get is our 6 weeks maternity leave and that isnt even a guarantee. :(

  • ranasalame

    ranasalame said 5 years ago

    This is a beautiful thing!

  • tensirk

    tensirk said 5 years ago

    How cute. I love the welcoming gesture. http://bodyofyoga.wordpress.com/

  • bialakura

    bialakura said 5 years ago

    I'm moving to Finland! That's really great idea.

  • masalachai

    masalachai said 5 years ago

    It is a lovely practical idea. In Australia we are given a 'baby bonus' of approx $5000 so that is pretty good too - you can use it to buy supplies or to help with living costs while not working. The idea of a special gift does sound lovely though.

  • thelittlemarket

    thelittlemarket said 5 years ago

    How wonderful!!! Great job Finland on such a great gesture!

  • MountainEagleCrafter

    MountainEagleCrafter said 5 years ago

    What a wonderful thing for babies and their mothers!

  • Colettesboutique

    Colettesboutique said 5 years ago

    I just love the idea of a special gift, for that special new person coming into this world. What a cool gesture, and the idea behind it is just wonderful!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 5 years ago

    wonderful!

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 5 years ago

    Finland is famous for its wise welfare policies and this is just another beautiful example!

  • urastarhouse

    urastarhouse said 5 years ago

    It woud look beautiful. Just beautiful.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 5 years ago

    Wonderful! Great article!

  • JewelryByJLy

    JewelryByJLy said 5 years ago

    This is such a beautiful share... It makes my heart warm to know that there are countries out there who see a new life worthwhile.

  • allisonmooney

    allisonmooney said 5 years ago

    That is wonderful!

  • elleestpetite

    elleestpetite said 5 years ago

    A baby box for a new mother, it's wonderfully genius!

  • NewModernArt

    NewModernArt said 5 years ago

    Wonderful! Great article!

  • Aldineck

    Aldineck said 5 years ago

    To welcome a new life - with open arms and generosity - brings me to tears! I am so thrilled that there is a country that welcomes new life and the creation of "the family" and supports the family in its' effort to bond. I am an old lady in the USA...this pleases me to no end!!

  • ekohaus

    ekohaus said 5 years ago

    Our Government makes the payment for the New born Baby here in Lithuania....But the amount of money is not so big.

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 5 years ago

    Beautiful!

  • kimonomomo

    kimonomomo said 5 years ago

    When I had my firstborn in the US, we got 24 hours in the hospital, then were told to leave. When my second was born in the UK, we got 3 days, a box of chocolates and flowers (he was born on a holiday), and a coupon for a box from the local chemists (pharmacy) that had toys, food, and other baby gear that was so practical to have. I don't remember who pays for it (the government? NHS? the shop itself?) but I appreciated it! We got another one when my baby was 6 months old, with items appropriate for his age. Every new parent needs support, wherever it comes from!

  • aorta

    aorta said 5 years ago

    wow, go Finland!

  • thebeersoapcompany

    thebeersoapcompany said 5 years ago

    Must be nice! Here in the USA they just promote formula feeding by pushing free formula into your diaper bag and kick you out of the hospital after 2 days.

  • thebeersoapcompany

    thebeersoapcompany said 5 years ago

    I hear some countries even get a nurse/nanny that comes daily for the first 6 months *stares of dreamily at the thought.*

  • QueenBeeVintiques

    QueenBeeVintiques said 5 years ago

    Heart warming article...beautiful gesture!

  • J2Jewelry

    J2Jewelry said 5 years ago

    As I am pregnant with my first, let me just thank you for sending me into yet another hormonal loop. :) I think it's a beautiful gesture of inclusion as well as support. That a country would take the time to reach out to it's mothers with this form of encouragement is heart-warming. As a sharp contrast, I've received a Welcome to Pregnancy organizer from a formula company along with samples. A corporate gesture, through and through. The zipper broke as I was opening one of the compartments and I found little practical information in it's pamphlet- just an assurance that they would take up the slack should I find breastfeeeding too difficult. (I would like to emphasize that though I plan on breastfeeding, I do not have any problems with mothers who choose otherwise. I only have a problem with the lack of information presented about breastfeeding as a viable option.)

  • TinRoofSoapCo

    TinRoofSoapCo said 5 years ago

    Wow, think our lack of parental support has anything to do with our current crisis? Probably. Finland, you are a wonderful example for other countries! What a great way to welcome new citizens. :-)

  • ndnchick

    ndnchick said 5 years ago

    I ♥ Finland. :)

  • kkcreates

    kkcreates said 5 years ago

    I am 50% Finnish and now more proud to be so!

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 5 years ago

    That is awesome. I wonder what else they do. Great info!

  • Loveybyisha

    Loveybyisha said 5 years ago

    So amazing- Can I move there :)

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 5 years ago

    So beautiful! Takes care of mom and baby, what a encouragement :)

  • LayOffTheBooks

    LayOffTheBooks said 5 years ago

    That's a great idea. When a government cares for their youngest citizens it shows that they really care for the future. Seems like they put a great deal of thought into choosing a wide range of items that will benefit both the baby and the parents.

  • ValerieGalloway

    ValerieGalloway said 5 years ago

    How fantastic-I would have loved to receive something like that when my son was born.

  • VeloNoir

    VeloNoir said 5 years ago

    What a touching post!

  • SweetPeasCommuniserv

    SweetPeasCommuniserv said 5 years ago

    Thats absolutely wonderful! I know so many people who don't want children (or anymore children) because of the initial expense of necessary items! Finland treats every baby as a gift, not a burden! Absolutely wonderful, wish I lived in Finland! :)

  • Feille

    Feille said 5 years ago

    Quite a lovely idea. Here in the US it comes int he form of an added dependent credit on your taxes. I think the baby box is a better idea. PS love how they include condoms in the baby box!

  • electricbluebird

    electricbluebird said 5 years ago

    DH and I dream of moving to Finland. What a lovely thing.

  • unmisted

    unmisted said 5 years ago

    I absolutely love the babies hat, it has such beautiful colors <3

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    Such a great thing to do for both baby and mum. I love Finland its such a great country, love to my Finnish friends! Kiitos :)

  • bhgplusthree

    bhgplusthree said 5 years ago

    I wish the American government did that. My four children were born in the hospital, and came home with nothing but a bill for the 20% my insurance didn't cover. The baby box is a true testament that the government still believes in the love and joy of FAMILY.

  • kissadesign

    kissadesign said 5 years ago

    I love Finland!

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 5 years ago

    Every day I learn something new. Sometimes it's something wonderful like a modern day government giving expectant mothers a baby gift. Amazing.

  • ShakaShakaVintage

    ShakaShakaVintage said 5 years ago

    the US government doesn't want us to have babies. they treat them as if they were optional, like pets, or an illness. so sad.

  • expressyourself

    expressyourself said 5 years ago

    Fantastic post!

  • picklehead

    picklehead said 5 years ago

    That is truly amazing! When I read about it having clothes I expected maybe 4 or 5 things but when I saw the inventory I was shocked! And they are really cute too! What a wonderful thing. Reading this really made my day :) Yay for Finland, babies and parents!!

  • jhollywooddesigns

    jhollywooddesigns said 5 years ago

    Wonderful story - it made me all warm and fuzzy. And now I want to move to Finland.

  • HanaMauiCreations

    HanaMauiCreations said 5 years ago

    Great article! So happy to hear when the government is helpful and supportive of it's people!!!!!!!!!!

  • phillymiss

    phillymiss said 5 years ago

    This is a great idea, but remember that Finland has a fraction of the population of the U.S. (5.4 million). Also Finns pay high taxes. In addition to income taxes, Finns pay a 23 percent VAT (valued-added tax) on many goods and services. In addition, gasoline in Finland is almost three times the U.S, price: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/01/20/report-gas-prices-in-finland-to-soar-above-9-per-gallon/ I don't have a problem with programs like this, but they do come at a cost.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage said 5 years ago

    Awesome! Here we'd have to fight over whether it's demeaning to women, and if the items are offensive.

  • tyussmom

    tyussmom said 5 years ago

    Well, while you are all envious about a box of baby stuff, do you have any idea how that is paid for? In Finland, the taxes are horrendous!!! I guarantee you that if the US put something like this into place, you'd all be screaming "FOUL"! I think it's a great idea, and the mother's here in the US that struggle financially would definitely benefit, but I would in NO way support raising my taxes to provide baby gear, when my children's education isn't even funded adequately! Come on people...wake up! Phillymiss...you're right on, educate yourselves before you sign up for socialism.

  • andiespecialtysweets

    andiespecialtysweets said 5 years ago

    I love the idea, so sweet indeed, and it's hard to look unfavorably onany nice gift of this magnitude - no matter who it's coming from. But wouldn't it be even better if there was a non-profit organization that people could donate to for the same reason. I know the government can get these things done on a wide scale, but it usually means their fingers are stirring the pot in every circumstance of daily lives. I just wish we could get back to being really neighborly, reach out to those outside of our daily path, and bring a sense of community back - where we're depending on each other, not the government.

  • ToosDetectiveAgency

    ToosDetectiveAgency said 5 years ago

    Our country could also provide great things for moms and babies (of all classes), and they wouldn't even have to develop any new programs. Western and Northern Europe are great examples of taxes used wisely and for the benefit of all.

  • andiespecialtysweets

    andiespecialtysweets said 5 years ago

    Gifts from the government don't come without strings.

  • mexiricansister

    mexiricansister said 5 years ago

    As Phillymiss says "they do come at a cost" and I say "tax me!". You get what you pay for. Our government does not value babies, the sick, or the elderly. We have a lot, but not enough.

  • andiespecialtysweets

    andiespecialtysweets said 5 years ago

    The government doesn't give gifts without strings. Wish we could reach out to those outside our daily path on our own initiative, through non-profit organizations or just being aware of our neighbors needs. It always works out better to depend on each other rather than the government.

  • PattiTrostle

    PattiTrostle said 5 years ago

    That is wonderful. Let's you know each person is valued!

  • FruitOfMyHands

    FruitOfMyHands said 5 years ago

    I agree with the above shop . They pay an enormous tax in Finland, so in essence, they are paying for this baby box and for other baby boxes, whether they want to or not. When we are forced to give, it is not longer the charity that Jesus talked about in the Bible. Real charity gives from the heart. Just a thought.

  • grimmandgrete

    grimmandgrete said 5 years ago

    We get taxed more when we have our babies here in Canada....lol.

  • sonyarasi

    sonyarasi said 5 years ago

    Amazing!

  • twentyseven27soap

    twentyseven27soap said 5 years ago

    Finland is indeed a wonderful country- I've spent many months there. Yes, they do pay enormous taxes, but most Finns are fiercely patriotic, having paid for their right to govern their country dearly. No, the Finnish model of taxation would not work in America because we are , but let's not knock what is working for them. FruitOfMyHands- you're right, baby boxes aren't from Christian charity. But I think we have something to learn about the Finn's contentment in "rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar's".

  • squibbles76

    squibbles76 said 5 years ago

    That is awesome! I agree, Taxes Used Wisely Could Benefit Us All!

  • HeyChica

    HeyChica said 5 years ago

    That's such a wonderful gesture!

  • eastbaycalifornia

    eastbaycalifornia said 5 years ago

    So amazing!!!!

  • jmaldridge

    jmaldridge said 5 years ago

    As a Christian mother who would not need this, but would have had our daughter come earlier, I say tax me. I would consider it charity, and gladly give. Healthcare costs and practices are barbaric in this country. Every child needs a good start. Every life has value and purpose, so we say. I would pay more taxes, and live more modestly, so everyone could have an increase in quality of life. To give cheerfully is to love. :)

  • Nubiajewelry

    Nubiajewelry said 5 years ago

    Can you imagine?! How wonderful it would be to live in a country where each of it's citizens are treasured! I feel as though I pay taxes and we don't see the benefits of it. I would love to be in a country where my tax money went to wonderful programs like this!

  • Nubiajewelry

    Nubiajewelry said 5 years ago

    And to jmaldridge, that is wonderfully said. I feel the exact same way.

  • purpleandlime

    purpleandlime said 5 years ago

    great article! my boyfriend especially enjoyed this having lived in Finland : )

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 5 years ago

    Are you serious? Wow. That is wonderful. This reminds me of that documentary Mike Moore did on health care around the world...

  • AlannaRK

    AlannaRK said 5 years ago

    I want to have my children in Finland. Imagine that! A government caring about it's citizens.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 5 years ago

    Every child is a gift and should be welcomed for the miracle it is. How wonderful that the Finnish gov't supports mothers and motherhood, the foundation of all society.

  • kirabiggs

    kirabiggs said 5 years ago

    This is awesome! I think that a lot more people in the U.S. would gladly pay taxes if it went to such wonderfully helpful things. The baby box is an example of tax money being used for something that directly benefits the citizens. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from getting something like this from the government, baby box or grant money, when they are welcoming a new member of the family.

  • ShannaMicheleDesigns

    ShannaMicheleDesigns said 5 years ago

    Very interesting article but all I can think about is our country would have a problem with using that box as a crib....CPSIA would be all over that lol....

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 5 years ago

    A great gesture toward family, each developed country should do something similar.

  • LittleMissDressUp

    LittleMissDressUp said 5 years ago

    Wow, I had no idea. Too bad our government does not provide a worthwhile, intelligent gift such as this instead of food stamps/ assistance card. Kudos to Finland from the USA.

  • popkingarb

    popkingarb said 5 years ago

    now this is how every government should take care of their citizens. sadly, this idea can't be implemented in the Philippines. :(

  • LittleBeanPrints

    LittleBeanPrints said 5 years ago

    Sweet story.... thanks for sharing

  • littlegoodall

    littlegoodall said 5 years ago

    From the photos on the link, the items in that box are adorable, and so cool that many are made from recycled materials. I would have loved to have such a box when I had my son, and moreover would have purchased those items if I saw them in a store. Such good ideas are rarely carried through with such good design in my experience.

  • elishalong

    elishalong said 5 years ago

    I think whether the Finnish are taxed or not, it's a beautiful gesture and welcoming gift for a little one and his/her mother. It's the thoughtfulness of their government that cannot be translated into a monetary figure. :)

  • mom2bee

    mom2bee said 5 years ago

    I love this sort of story, it shows how lacking the U.S. is in attitude and overall support to new families. I am an american who had my child in Canada and we received truly great support and care plus paid maternity leave for a year. All Canadian residents are entitled to this and NO my taxes are not much higher than what I was paying in Seattle, Washington......

  • funkomavintage

    funkomavintage said 5 years ago

    I love this idea! It comes down to making a decision about what you think is important in your culture...In the US, babies are expected to get a job and shut up. This is why in America we have high poverty rates for children, slums, rotten schools, and sky high crime rates....unless you are well to do. And really, if "charity" and "churches" was able to meet the huge need that the less fortunate have, then there would be no problems at all. Reality tells the real story. Taxes should be raised on those who are rich and then we can meet the needs of needy families. I am envious of those countries that tax and fund healthy economies and support their citizens needs. America has a hard attitude towards everyone but the rich and famous.

  • IrinaSztukowski

    IrinaSztukowski said 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing! Irina www.IrinaSztukowski.com

  • jewelsbymoon

    jewelsbymoon said 5 years ago

    i loveeeeeee this, what a beautiful thing...every new mother should have this baby box. gave me a good idea. thanks

  • Belka808

    Belka808 said 5 years ago

    The contrast isn't surprising to me at all. I think the US is very cut-throat and completely lacking in compassion. Additionally, a lot of people in the US are strongly against any form of social welfare, and big corporations rule the country. With the way things are going here, it's only going to get worse. :(

  • AprilMarieMai

    AprilMarieMai said 5 years ago

    finland does this because they have such a low birth rate, so they are trying to do everything they can to boost that. they also provide amazing benefits for parents with time off of work, etc. frankly the us does not see itself in such a position when it comes to population growth. we have plenty of babies. we don't feel a need to encourage people to have them. that is probably where the biggest difference lies that makes this happen.

  • lauraslastditch

    lauraslastditch said 5 years ago

    Well, it isn't "free," it's just communally paid for. A lovely idea, nonetheless.

  • elsahats

    elsahats said 5 years ago

    well, that's really encouraging. That's also another reason not to be a single mom-parent in Greece. It was bad before and now with the financial crisis is even worse, as you don't always get child support-is voluntarily, and in order to get some money from the goverment you need to have more than 3 children and they're cutting that out too.

  • HermanTheGerman2011

    HermanTheGerman2011 said 5 years ago

    Scandinavia is a nice place to raise your kids, if you can stand the cold and the darkness. Such a cute baby.

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 5 years ago

    Well it's a nice gesture from the government. No child will be without the basic items that an baby needs. I like how the article states that every child is given a fair start to life.

  • SunnysideEllen

    SunnysideEllen said 5 years ago

    What I find so wonderful about this is you will get the basic items you need. It is not easy for a first-time Mom to figure out what you need and how to get it all. In that way it has more value than money to me.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 5 years ago

    It's for a political reason...

  • ClosetGothic

    ClosetGothic said 5 years ago

    How fantastic that Mothers are made to feel valued.

  • ultraturquoise

    ultraturquoise said 5 years ago

    I'm finnish. Our system isn't problematic and certainly I don't live in paradise. I definitely would like to see some things done differently. But I don't mind high taxes. I like the results of the high taxes. Even if I didn't benefit of them directly in the exact same way as my neighbour, I still feel it's benefiting me too. Because I think that when everyone has at least somewhat equal chances in life it's good for everyone. And if that makes me socialist I'm proudly one. ;)

  • Piggy

    Piggy said 5 years ago

    That's a very cute box and wonderful gesture. In Singapore, parents get a baby bonus (one time payout) but the purpose was to encourage parents to have babies :)

  • christinered

    christinered said 5 years ago

    In Norway we get 35000nkr, about 6000us dollars to buy stuff we need for the baby. We also get the first year of babys life off work with full pay. We can also split some of that time with the dad, so he can spend time with his newborn. Dad will also get full pay, while staying home. I brought two beautiful boys into this great world.

  • FirebirdJewellery

    FirebirdJewellery said 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this, I had no idea! And I live in Finland! :p Yes there are high taxes here, but I've never heard anyone complain about them, and when I've mentioned it, they all say "yes, but that pays for...." So I think everyone here is happy. And I'd certainly be happy with receiving that box! ^_^

  • MariaHelenaDesign

    MariaHelenaDesign said 5 years ago Featured

    The 'baby box', aka 'motherhood help' was started in 1937 initially to help out poor families. A high infant mortality rate, and the need to get all mothers into the healthcare system were the main drivers behind the idea. Since 1949 it has been given to all mothers. Currently Finland has the 5th lowest infant mortality rate. Finland also has paid maternal and paternal(!) leave, and each family is paid approx $150 per child per month until the child turns 17. Yes, the taxes are high, but we also have free education. And no, high taxes do not equal socialism.

  • MariaHelenaDesign

    MariaHelenaDesign said 5 years ago

    Finland also has a day care system, so mothers can go back to work after their maternity leave...

  • Arcana83

    Arcana83 said 5 years ago Featured

    AND most of the products in the "baby box" are made in Finland, which is great and benefits the economy. Always when a friend of mine gets her babybox, everyone gathers around and wants to see what`s new this year. Even I , like most of us Finns, have slept my first months in the baby box, as it works as a baby´s first bed as well.

  • nomoikoru

    nomoikoru said 5 years ago

    I was born in the 70's in Finland and my Mom got the baby box. The items are of really good quality and the design is well thought-off and updated often (I had a brown sleeping bag with giant yellow flowers in it!). There's also a kind of cool consequence of this; seeing an item from the box makes a whole generation go: awww.. I remember that quilt/cap/snowsuit from my childhood!

  • Pugglebugs

    Pugglebugs said 5 years ago

    How exciting it must be to have one of those boxes arrive! I must admit I did have a chuckle at "Condoms - 6 inserts" though!

  • danhalbel

    danhalbel said 5 years ago

    What a great idea!

  • chickame

    chickame said 5 years ago

    I am so proud of my native country and never stop missing it. But I'm happy here now with my family and my daughter. I'm happy for all the moms and babies in Finland to have the welcoming. Nice !!!!

  • KnittyTurks

    KnittyTurks said 5 years ago

    What an awesome thing to do for a new mother.

  • needleyou

    needleyou said 5 years ago

    Neat. Lucky Moms over there. Very sweet idea on the Finns part. Glad I read this. : )

  • SatuKallioDesign

    SatuKallioDesign said 5 years ago

    Yes, I'm proud to be a Finn, but many people here are taking baby box and other stuff as a self-evidence. And by the way, our capital city Helsinki is a World Design Capital 2012!

  • wheeware

    wheeware said 5 years ago

    As my own daughter struggles through the awful process of organising her own medical care, financial support, getting a home together for a child and as I remember the minimal, shabby care I (as a paying customer, I mean patient) at the local hospital and complete lack of follow up care I recieved after a Caesarian birth, I cannot help but wonder at people who insist that taxes are bad and Insurance (a Bank Product) is better. A crisis in the US' health care system? What system??!!

  • ShwimmyKids

    ShwimmyKids said 5 years ago

    I love the idea of a baby box!!

  • hugaroo

    hugaroo said 5 years ago

    wow... can i move to finland? what an awesome little package. it definitely has all the essentials.

  • Rewoodtoys

    Rewoodtoys said 5 years ago

    That is amazing! I wish other countries would value the birth of children as much as Finland.

  • StefNeff

    StefNeff said 5 years ago

    A wonderful gesture, whether it comes with strings attached or not. Government in any country always has a reason for everything, and I think in the Finn's circumstance it is for bettering their country and the citizens who live there. There is no 100% perfect government, since humans are the ones who make it and run it, and we all know humans are not perfect beings :). But to know there are places in this world that try to do the best they can for their communities and the people who live in them, that is something for all countries and people to strive for. No matter the cause, whether it be right or wrong, moral or unmoral, it only takes one person start it and to make it happen. I believe you need to be the change you want to see, some food for thought :)

  • PieceofPeace

    PieceofPeace said 5 years ago

    Many countries have similar benefits, but nothing is FREE! Here in Quebec, we pay $7/day for childcare (nursery) so that Mothers can work. We also have maternal/paternal leave, and maternity leave is ONE YEAR! :) But, we also pay around 35-40% income tax!

  • trafalgarssquare

    trafalgarssquare said 5 years ago

    It's interesting they said the cardboard baby box can be used as a crib-kinda like kittens at the grocery store...

  • trafalgarssquare

    trafalgarssquare said 5 years ago

    It's interesting they said that the cardboard baby box can be used as a crib--kinda like kittens at the grocery store. Personally, I'd prefer to forgo the 35-40% tax and use my money to buy a crib and baby items--and donate the rest to charity. But, that's just me...

  • Charlieandthefox

    Charlieandthefox said 5 years ago

    That's amazing that they do that there.

  • Arcana83

    Arcana83 said 5 years ago

    Yeah, that what it ment. No one in Finland has cribs, babies sleep in a box :D Oh, come on..You can place the box into a crib for the first weeks and babies feel more safe and secure in a smaller bed-like. ...in Finland it is illegal to sell dogs and kittens at pet- or whatever store.

  • ArgentTonic

    ArgentTonic said 5 years ago

    That's so a great idea!

  • Ihanitse

    Ihanitse said 5 years ago

    I'm Finnish but live abroad. The state does not sponsor the box for me but I will for sure buy it if/when I get pregnant. It is something so essentially Finnish for me - one of those things I've learned to appreciate while living abroad. And for the last couple of years, the baby box has re-usable nappies/diapers in it - promoting green choices. A Finnish saying goes "Oma maa mansikka, muu maa mustikka" - your native country is like a strawberry, others like a blueberry. I must say Finland is a huge sweet fruity pregnant strawberry. And I've chosen to live in a blueberry... Hmm.

  • elinadesigns

    elinadesigns said 5 years ago

    I'm a Finn living in Canada. I'm not part of the system anymore but my mom bought the box for my baby and got it shipped here. My boy is sitting here in my lap, wearing his Finnish clothes... And the box has been his daybed for these three months. Sometimes I wonder why I left...

  • susanadrt

    susanadrt said 5 years ago

    Go Finland!!! Here in Portugal we also have 23% VAT and we don't have baby boxes... we have a 4 month maternity leave and whenthat ends nobody respects your family time for the rest of your life... all they want is you working late all week! Shame!

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 5 years ago

    So amazing! What a great idea :)

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 5 years ago

    And I need to add - what an incredibly adorable baby in that picture!

  • LynnsMix

    LynnsMix said 5 years ago

    Awesome! If only...

  • cadreams

    cadreams said 5 years ago

    Great article. Finland is Fantastic! They say it is the happiest country on earth.

  • hoolehua

    hoolehua said 5 years ago

    As an American expat living in Scandinavia (Norway) I wonder how many Americans wishing they had goodie bags from the government realize how much Scandinavians (and resident expats, of course) are taxed for them (that is, if you qualify, which, as an expat, at least where I live, odds are you don't -- caveat to all those who want to move here for the goodies .... ). As for having children here -- yes, if you meet the requirements you can have about a year of paid maternity leave (that is, if you have been working at the same job for at least a year before you became pregnant and have a multi-year contract) or, if you are not working, provided the father has been working at his job for at least a year and has a multi-year contract he can have the leave. By the way, Christine, 3500 NOK = 600 USD, and, given the 25% VAT and high prices on goods here (the largest carton of milk you can buy holds 1.75 liters and that costs $4.50), that would buy roughly the equivalent of $300 USD of baby gear at US prices from US stores. As for babies being treated as simply more people to tax -- well, I know of a couple who moved here while the wife was pregnant -- because she was from a (non-Scandinavian/non-EU) country where you have to wait up to six months to get a personal number (which makes you part of the health system, etc) her Swedish husband was told that she was not eligible for state neo-natal care, and private care (same doctors, twice the price) was their only option. Further, when their son was born, he only got 2 weeks of family leave because he had not been employed at that job for at least a year at that point. Now, as his wife has thusfar decided to stay home (they have another young daughter), he was told he would only be approved for a home loan if he could make a sizable down payment because he had one salary and three dependents (the standard profile, is, of course, that both parents are working full-time). So, as I said, I suppose it is nice if you fit the profile. If you don't, however, you won't encounter any overwhelming love of families or stay-at-home parents. Did anyone wonder why the lady in the story had to drag that box up a hill? I bet I can guess why -- her mail was most likely not delivered to her house (where we live, anything bigger than a small catalogue is delivered to a local grocery store, where we are expected to pick it up and haul it back home ourselves, unless we pay at least $10 extra, and then it might be delivered during a few hours in the evening -- so those high taxes don't get you everything you think they might, like a post office that actually delivers mail to you, for example). My husband and I are both PhD students here, and while we truly appreciate the academic opportunities offered to us and the fact that we are treated (and paid) like employees (rather than students who are supposed to eat ramen), we are not exactly rich and this is not exactly the land of milk and honey, either. Real life is a series of trade-offs.

  • hoolehua

    hoolehua said 5 years ago

    Apologies for the lack of paragraphs -- my formatting didn't show up, apparently. :/ .

  • hoolehua

    hoolehua said 5 years ago

    Eg beklagar Christine, eg tok feil/More apologies to Christine, I must have mis-read your comment. 35,000 NOK is 6,000 USD (purchasing power 3,000 USD), you are correct, but I am not aware of a child credit or program that gives you that amount of money (nor have any of the new mothers I know told me about it .... ) Is that a tax credit? (I'm just a childless expat, so I don't know too much about all of these regulations beyond what my colleagues tell me (I know the details of fødselspermisjonen/ maternity leave because a unit was devoted to it in our Norwegian language class).

  • esther2u2

    esther2u2 said 5 years ago

    Wow ! How special is that. What a great idea!

  • tiialin

    tiialin said 5 years ago

    what a stress reliever.. i'm currently trying figure out how to get all the winter clothes my new son will need on a VERY tight budget.

  • KnotaGeek

    KnotaGeek said 5 years ago

    I always find myself looking for a "like" button on Etsy...that was definitely the case here!!!

  • consciousclothing

    consciousclothing said 5 years ago

    Thank you for this post and all of the comments- Love this Etsy community!!

  • RivalryTime

    RivalryTime said 5 years ago

    Thank you!

  • Chrysanthema

    Chrysanthema said 5 years ago

    My Mother is from Finland and I know about the Baby Box. It's really a great thing. Every government should do that.

  • ezliving

    ezliving said 5 years ago

    great ! ownderful idea!!

  • scandivintage

    scandivintage said 5 years ago

    This is such a great article. :) Thank you.

  • nicilaskin

    nicilaskin said 5 years ago

    that is an awesome idea, i think it would be nice to have something like that here in america, one can wish, but i think the best idea is to give kids here healthcare and money for education,

  • isfour

    isfour said 5 years ago

    To everyone living in lala land: This is not a "gesture," and it's not free. It is paid for by the citizens themselves, who pay an extremely high rate of taxes.

  • VijolicaVintage

    VijolicaVintage said 5 years ago

    we have that in Slovenia, too... and isfour, your right, stuff like this is being paid for by the citizens, but I'd rather see my taxes financing "baby boxes" than the army...

  • klinker

    klinker said 5 years ago

    yes it's definitely paid for by taxes but what an interesting gesture to "get back" from your taxes. i also agree it's tough to envision this considering in the usa we have healthcare and education to consider. I do, however, always love when people get back something that is useful and a support.

  • p2varu

    p2varu said 5 years ago

    I didnt know this, its amazing. It makes me want to learn more about the Finnish way.

  • alexandralacki

    Alexandra Lacki said 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing... wow the list of baby items is impressive!

  • TooBerry

    Simeon from TooBerry said 4 years ago

    Hello! I'm Michele Simeon, the author of the blog post you refer to. A bit of idle googling brought me to your post--thanks for the mention! I'm probably joining in rather too late, but just wanted to respond to a couple of comments re: the high taxes and cost of living in Nordic countries vs. the US. Once you factor in all the basic expenses that are free or of minimal cost in countries like Finland (health care, prescription drugs, education, secure retirement), the total payout is not greater. Americans might pay less in taxes, but they pay a lot more in many other areas, and there is a poor safety net for those who can't pay. Not mention all the other benefits like a standard four weeks of holiday, maternity leave etc. Here's a good article that evaluates the differences: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/apr/15/tax-day-us-europe One Finnish commenter wrote "Oma maa mansikka, muu maa mustikka." I feel the same. I miss so much about my home country, but I'm honestly not sure how our young family would manage there just now!

Sign in to add your own