Lesson We learn from the Finnish Parents

by NDFAuthors

  • Jun 07, 2015

It seems that the offer of things for babies has never been better, but what about parents  who simply can’t afford all the things from the baby shopping list?

When the baby comes, parents have to provide a lot of necessities in order to ensure him/her good and healthy start in life. Nowadays it seems that the offer of things for babies has never been better. There are all sorts of cribs, strollers, clothes, diapers, toys and similar stuff for your new family member. Thanks to modern technology you can even shop baby products online. Of course, parents’ love, affection and care come first, but what about the families who simply can’t afford all the things from the baby shopping list?

In Finland, for example, cardboard box successfully solved this problem.

Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state that serves as a starter kit for their new baby. It contains clothes, blankets, and other newborn necessities. With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Thus many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls. It is believed that these baby boxes have helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

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. To receive the box the moms-to-be must attend a prenatal appointment prior to their fourth month of pregnancy.

The maternity box, which started out as a government handout to low-income families, became universal in 1949, and is now a source of pride for the country “” the box is a guarantee that all Finnish babies have a healthy start in life and a safe place to sleep. The contents of the box have changed a good deal over the years, reflecting changing times.


Pregnant moms have the choice of accepting the box or opting for a cash grant of 140 Euros. However, with the box filled with gender-neutral bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, baby bathing products, diapers, bedding, and a small mattress, an overwhelming majority opt for the traditional box. On the one hand the contents of the box are worth far more. On the other, receiving the box has become a beloved tradition. The families are eager to find out what the box contains and to see what colour scheme has been chosen for the year. In a recent study it was stated that Finnish mothers are the happiest in the world, and most people figured the box had something to do with it.

Not only does the box provide everything a new mother needs in order to take care of her infant but it also helps steer pregnant women into the caring hands of local doctors and nurses. This is one of the reasons why the infant mortality rate has dropped, from 65 in 1000 baby deaths in 1935, to under 10 in 2012.

Free maternity package is the least that every country can do to support parents-to-be, especially those in need. Perhaps such campaign is even more required because it feels to all parents like evidence that someone cares; someone wants their baby to have a good start in life. I sincerely hope that the example of Finnish cardboard box will serve as a role model and motivate not only authorities in Serbia but governments worldwide as well as to do something similar in order to ensure and promote welfare of parents and their children.


I believe the things can be changed for better for the families.

You can change it, I can do that.

We can all make something good.

Every child deserves equal start in life.