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A Gift of Equality and Care: The Finnish Baby Box

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An honored tradition in Finland since 1949, the baby box provides new parents with assorted baby goods, and of course, a beautifully decorated box that also comes with a small mattress and bedding so that the baby can sleep in it. Around 40,000 families receive a baby box from the Finnish Government each year. In order to receive a box, expectant mothers have to visit a pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy. This eligibility criterion encourages expectant mothers to seek prenatal healthcare support, which is viewed as a positive step. In the 1930s, it was reported that the infant mortality rate was quite high, with 65 out of 1,000 babies sadly perishing. Thankfully, since that time, survival rates for newborn babies steadily improved, especially during the 1940s, for various reasons, including the wonderful baby box, and prenatal care for women. Then in 1964, Finland established a national health insurance system and a hospital network.

This caring gesture has become a national icon of Finland. In 2013, the Finnish government gifted Prince William and Princess Catherine, the Prince and Princess of Wales, with a baby box. In February 2012, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden were also gifted with a baby box to celebrate the birth of Princess Estelle. These days a number of mothers enjoy filming the unboxing and even share this on social media as they discover all of the precious contents.

Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) has often encouraged us to be devoted parents and best friends to our children. She encourages us to create a loving world for the next generation and enheartens people to do kind deeds to help uplift our world and all the human and animal-people who live here.

The baby boxes are in this spirit of kindness and have such an uplifting effect on parents-to-be. These kind packages have been welcomed and appreciated so much that other countries have also been introducing their own versions. In 2017, the Scottish government launched the Scottish baby box pilot scheme, based on Finland’s baby boxes. Mothers receive the boxes with about 40 different items including a mattress, blanket and sheets, so that babies can use the box to sleep in. It also comes with a poem that was written by Professor Jackie Kay, called “Welcome Wee One.” Parents were extremely welcoming of the boxes, noting how helpful some of the items are – especially, as these parents noted, the thermometer.
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