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Hudson Martin
Hudson Martin

Finland Baby Box Buy

When the BBC News Magazine wrote about the governmental baby box in June 2013, people from all over the world expressed interest in buying a maternity box. Unfortunately, the official maternity package is only available to mothers in Finland. Moreover, the products are specifically designed and produced for the maternity package by local companies, and many cannot be bought separately.

finland baby box buy

Exactly this is what three Finnish dads have done. They set up a website to pre-sell the Finnish baby box. If the demand is high, or they reach a given number of pre-orders, they will go into production. Their goal: To generate enough volume to be able to start sending out the first boxes this month of September. Ambitious.

Expectant moms in Finland have been receiving free baby boxes from the government since 1938. It started as way to support impoverished families and counteract high infant mortality: to claim the free gift, mothers had to visit a maternity clinic and undergo a medical exam. The lure worked and soon maternity exams became commonplace for moms.

An audit by Sedex, an organization that performs ethical trade inspections worldwide, found that a Pakistani mill had out-of-date fire extinguishers and blocked emergency exits. The mill manufactured gauze diapers for the baby box.

Multiple items from China, including a baby book, a toothbrush and colorful onesies, were tied to illegal overtime. Independent auditors not associated with Finnwatch and accredited by Amfori BSCI, an association that monitors working conditions, documented employees with up to 88 hours of overtime a month, violating China's labor law that overtime be capped at 36 hours a month.

In response to Finnwatch's study, Kela, the government agency that distributes the baby boxes, issued a press release that says "Kela is working to make sure that [the maternity package] is fully compatible with all ethical standards."

For Finnish moms with lingering concerns about the ethics behind the baby box, there is another option: take the money. Kela gives pregnant moms the opportunity to choose the box or its cash value instead.

The maternity package (Finnish: äitiyspakkaus, Swedish: moderskapsförpackning), known internationally as the Finnish "baby box," is a kit granted by the Finnish social security institution Kela, to all expectant or adoptive parents who live in Finland or are covered by the Finnish social security system. The package contains children's clothes and other necessary items, such as nappies, bedding, cloth, gauze towels and child-care products.[1] It was first issued in 1938[2] to parents with a low income, and contained a blanket, crib sheets, diapers, and fabric which parents could use to make clothing for the baby.[3]

Following a BBC story in June 2013, the baby box began to receive international attention. Similar packages, commercial or state-sponsored, are being trialled around the world. Private companies have started selling packages purporting to be the "Finnish baby box" or similar to it, but the original boxes are not sold commercially.[8]

In 1922, relatively soon after Finland gained independence in 1917, a volunteer of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (founded by Sophie Mannerheim, a prominent Finnish nurse) by the name of Mrs. Ilmi Hallstén conceived the idea for the baby box.[10] Dr. Arvo Ylppö, an eminent Finnish pediatrician, obtained donated textiles from Germany. Local volunteers sewed baby clothes out of the donated textiles. These clothes were included with linens and hygiene items into "rotating baskets" (kiertokorit in Finnish) and were loaned to local mothers who needed them. After a baby grew out of the clothes, the baskets were returned to the volunteers, who repaired and laundered the contents, then passed them on to the next family.[9]

One year later, 28 chapters of the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare were circulating similar rotating baskets. Five years later, over 180 chapters had sewing circles of volunteer women who were eager to support families in need across Finland. Meeting the need for baby clothing during the 1930's and wartime (1939-45) was a clear and tangible effort that was readily supported.[11]

In 1937, the Maternity Grants Act was enacted, which provided mothers with baby clothes and care items. In 1938, the Finnish government began to provide "maternity grants" for low-income mothers in the form of either an in-kind goods "baby box" or an alternative cash benefit. As Finland had recently gained independence in 1917 and the Finnish government lacked monetary funds, providing a "baby box" with in-kind benefits as a possible alternative to cash benefits was practical. In addition, many Finns were in need and the grant in either form was intended to provide some compensation for the for lost wages during the time of childbirth.[12]

In 1949, the box given was standard to all expectant mothers who visited a doctor before the fourth month of pregnancy[3] per the Finnish Maternity Grants Act. A baby bottle was added to the package, but was removed in later packages to encourage breastfeeding.[3][15] The requirement to visit a doctor as a prerequisite to receiving the package was done in order to ensure that the woman received adequate prenatal care.[6] The maternity package can either be applied for online, on Kela's website, or by completing and returning a form.[5]

The current package contents include bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, nappies and cream, bedding, a hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, wash cloth, muslin squares, a picture book, teething toy, bra pads, and condoms.[10] It also contains a small mattress, allowing the box containing the package to become a crib in which many newborns have their first naps.[6] Condoms are included by way of precaution, not as a discouragement, as a new pregnancy is possible within a few weeks of childbirth and many parents wish to have a little time between the births of their children.[16]

International curiosity surrounding the Finnish baby box is often associated with the fact that Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.[12] However, there is no evidence that the baby box has had any effect on infant mortality in Finland. Retrospective studies would be difficult due to design or implement given the lack of records from the historical period in which the baby box was introduced, and a current study would be complicated by the ubiquitous use of the baby box in Finland, today. However, it is possible to analyze new programs in other countries that have been inspired by or are similar to the Finnish baby box program.

A 2020 report from Tampere University,[9] published by Kela, reported that over 60 countries use some form of a baby "box" maternity package.[17] After in-depth interviews with 29 of these 60 programs, researchers found that the baby box concept has been highly adapted to fit many cultures and has been used with the aim to promote various messages, such as safe sleep or breastfeeding, in contexts from rural prisons to capital cities.[17] The report also addressed popular topics surrounding the baby box, such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well as the history of the Finnish baby box and its connection to larger social support systems.[17]

In 2017, an experimental study[13] was conducted in the United States on the use of US baby boxes (a.k.a., "cardboard bassinets"), in combination with safe sleep education, for reducing bed-sharing, which is a risk factor for SIDS and sleep-related deaths (SRD). Researchers at Temple University Hospital assigned study participants (i.e., mother-infant dyads) to one of the following conditions for postpartum hospital discharge: standard hospital discharge instructions; standard instructions plus additional safe infant sleep education based on the AAP safe infant sleep recommendations; or both types of instruction plus a gifted baby box from The Baby Box Company. The researchers concluded that the third condition (i.e., both types of instruction plus a gifted baby box) reduced the rate of bed-sharing during the first week of the infant's life (as self-reported by the participating mothers), particularly for exclusively breastfeeding mother-infant dyads.

In Australia, the state of New South Wales began a program providing a baby bundle to the parents of every baby born from 1 January 2019. The bundle contains picture books, mats, a first aid kit, a sleeping bag, thermometers, and consumable child-care products such as cloths and wipes, with a total retail value of AU$300.[19]

A similar scheme was introduced in Scotland in 2017. After a three-month pilot scheme in Clackmannanshire and Orkney, the Scottish "baby box" began to be issued to all parents with newborns in summer 2017,[23] with over 52,000 such boxes issued in the first twelve months of the programme.[24]

In Sweden, startboxes are offered by some stores that sell baby products as well as pharmacies and some hospitals. Many new parents actually benefit from multiple boxes from companies trying to win new customers.

The importance of robust evidence must be a key priority. This is why we believe governments and health providers should consider these factors before assuming that baby boxes are the solution to ongoing tragic unexplained deaths of infants.

Crucially, research is needed on the ways in which parents use existing baby boxes, in what circumstances and contexts they might be beneficial, and whether it is the box, or the programmes around them that benefits families.

As a response to this need, we are starting to work with vulnerable parental groups and health providers in Scotland, Finland, Zambia, Vietnam and Kenya to find out whether baby boxes or alternative devices that can be brought into the parental bed can improve infant safety and survival.

Lately, the baby box has been catching on in countries far from Finland. Some public health experts see it as a way to reduce the SIDS rate, others are skeptical, while an increasing number of parents simply appreciate its low cost and portability. 041b061a72


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