In Finland the government’s social security institution, KELA provides a maternity package (Baby Box) to all expectant or adoptive parents. The Baby Box concept in Finland dates back to 1938, it was written into law in 1949 as a maternity entitlement and it was not dependant on the social or economic circumstances of the parents. The box was given to all mothers to be, provided they visit a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth pregnancy month.
Over the years there have been changes to the content of the box aligned with the changing needs of parents and society in general. One thing has remained the same is how the box transforms into a baby crib where the newborn can sleep in the first weeks and months after birth.
Today the KELA maternity package is a cultural institution in Finland. But how do the Finns like their KELA maternity package today? There has been many articles written about the concept of the Baby Box however we asked Jenni Santalo, a Finnish mother who has a 5 month old baby boy Casimir living in Helsinki, Finland on what she likes about the KELA maternity package 2016 and how she has used it.
1. What’s the most useful baby product you have found in your maternity package?
– All the clothes in the box are well chosen and extremely useful. At the moment my favorite is the light-weight overall with hood. Also, the hair brush for the baby and the special nail clippers have been useful.
2. What are you using the Baby Box for?
– At first my baby slept in it and when he didn’t fit in it anymore, I have used the box for storage. The baby slept in the box from day 1 when we got home from the hospital, until he turned 3 months old and was too big for the box. Babies feel safe and comfortable in the box, because it’s small and they are surrounded by the box walls. It is said that it resembles the time that they were still in the womb. My son slept very well in the box.
3. If you could make any changes to the content of the Baby Box, what would it be?
– The style and colors of the clothing are different each year, so you cannot get to choose as it depends on what kind of box you get the year your baby is born. I really like all the products and colors in my baby box and would not change a thing. It has been well thought through as it is.
4. Do you have any memory of your own maternity package from your own childhood?
– Yes, I do! My mum still has the winter sleeping bag / blanket from my own baby box when I was born in 1978. My son was sleeping in it just few weeks ago when we visited my parents in Lapland. It is very retro!
5. What does the long history of KELA maternity package mean for you today?
– It means that everyone is equal when they are born no matter what the social status of the baby’s parents. Everybody in Finland is entitled to a Baby Box.
6. Would you recommend this type of Baby Box to new parents?
– Yes, I would absolutely recommend a baby box for new parents, because there is everything you need to get started with the baby, and even more. It is an easy, good way to get a safe start for your newborn.
Check out baby boxes available in Australia.