With this pregnancy half over and baby #5 due in June I'm already planning ahead for what I might need. More onesies, swaddle blankets, a teeny tiny baby bathing suit. But a baby box? Click through to find out what it is and why I'll be using one this time around.
You may have already heard of these, in Finland for the last 75 years, expectant parents there have received a "baby starter kit" of sorts in the mail designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they're from, an equal start in life. The box is a gift from the Finnish government for the new parents and is full of must haves for the new baby: onesies, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as diapers, bedding and a small mattress. With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby's first bed. 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. The Baby Box is credited with helping to decrease Finland's infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to 3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013.
Now, I know what you are thinking: "My baby has a crib, I don't need a box for it to sleep in!" We have a crib too, which the baby eventually sleeps in, but for the first few weeks (at least) the baby sleeps with us either in bed nursing or next to the bed in a Pack and Play. For the rest of the day, however, I want the baby napping close to me, either in a sling or somewhere I can keep an eye on her. This time around I've toyed with the idea of buying a Moses basket I can bring around the house with me so the baby can nap wherever I am, so I love the idea of a safe and portable little napping place for the newborn.
In a lot of ways, I envy the Finnish, known to be some of the happiest people in the world (and not just because mothers there are entitled to four months paid maternity leave and fathers can take up to 54 days paid paternity leave, I mean, could you imagine paid paternity leave in the US?!). Beyond that even, Finnish parents get an additional 154 days to share between them and mothers and fathers then have the option of taking a complete childcare leave, unpaid, until the child is three years old. Finnish parents are entitled to complete employment security should they take this option.
The Save the Children State of the World's Mothers report (SOWM report), an annual report by the Save the Children USA, compiles statistics on the health of mothers and children and uses them to produce rankings of more than 170 countries, showing where mothers fare best and where they face the greatest hardships. In 2014 Finland was #1. The US? Number 31. In Finland, children have frequent breaks for outdoor time, shorter school hours and more variety of classes than in the US.
So maybe the Baby Box will help lend a little of what Finland is doing right for motherhood to help me make the transition to life with five kiddos that much smoother. I love that it simplifies the needs for your newborn, just some cute and wholesome essentials, a safe place to sleep, and that's all you need. No fuss, no muss. Last week through a google search I found The Baby Box Co. online that has a bunch of different Baby Box options, I'm going for the Nature Box with it's organic burp cloths and organic wooden teether, the HALO SleepSack and (among other things) a thermometer (one thing I can never seem to find when I need it). The mattress itself has no PBDE flame retardants, no prohibited phthalates, no ozone depleters (CFCs), no mercury, lead or heavy metals and no formaldehyde.
I fully plan on using the Baby Box for baby #5's main napping place, be it outside in the shade while the kids play (you can also get a handy little umbrella for the box), next to the bed as I fold laundry, or over at Grandma's house. Will a Finnish Baby Box start popping up as a must have on pregnancy registries for American mamas? Only time will tell, but for now it's at the top of my list. Stay tuned to see my full review...xoxo