As a new parent, how would you feel about receiving a box full of clothes and first necessities items from your government to congratulate you on your newest family member?
We know what you’re thinking: “It’s a cardboard box. OK, the decoration is nice, but still, it’s a box with some ducks on it.” Well, you’re wrong.
These boxes are called “maternity packages” and are offered to ALL expecting or adoptive parents in Finland
Families get to choose between either taking the package or a €140 maternity grant. More than 60 percent go with the box. Look how happy they are.
Maternity grants were first introduced back in 1938, when Finland was facing declining birth rates and high infant mortality. They were offered to low income families. In 1949, maternity grants were made available to all expecting or adoptive mothers, regardless of their background, income, religion or ethnicity. According to Finnish social security institution Kela, “each year [they] award around 60,000 maternity grants, of which about 40,000 are provided in the form of a maternity package.”
The box includes a variety of necessary gender neutral children’s items, such as clothes, bedding, diapers, towels and childcare products, which are easily worth more than €140. But wait, there’s more. The box also contains a small mattress, so that once it’s empty, it can be easily transformed into a crib for the baby to sleep in.
Since the introduction of maternity packages, Finland infant mortality has drastically went down. One of the primary reasons for its success is the fact that mothers-to-be have to see a doctor or visit a municipal prenatal clinic in order to receive this box or the grant
Not only did the box worked wonders for Finland’s health care system, it has become a fun tradition in the Finnish culture. “This felt to me like evidence that someone cared, someone wanted our baby to have a good start in life,” Mike Bosworth told the BBC.
Today, Finland is one of the best countries in the world to be a mother, according to Save the Children’s annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report.
What about your country? Are the mothers and babies pampered as much by the government?