Finnish baby boxes are coming to Canada

This article is a comment on a news article published on CTV News. You can see the original article here.

Well, to Alberta at least. According to this article on CTV news, Alberta has a pilot program operating under research grants from Alberta Human Services.

In Finland, moms of every background receive a baby box each time they have a child. The box itself has baby-safe foam padding so that it can double as a crib for newborns, and is full of all the basics a new baby and mama need, including onesies, receiving blankets and washcloths, nursing pads, paci’s, etc.

The Finnish program is actually one I learned about several years ago and am a huge fan of. It is designed to give every baby the same, safe start in life, regardless of the parents’ economic background. It is widely supported by the populace, possibly because it is provided to all families, not just those who are financially unprepared for caring for a new baby. This program is just one part of the outstanding system of maternal and childhood care that give Finland one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. Lower than Canada’s. Much lower than in the United States.

Obviously, I am a huge proponent of the baby boxes. It is reassuring to first time Mums that they have everything they need, and probably feels like a safety net to leave the hospital with, and the round the clock care/reassurance provided by medical staff. While I’m not afraid I’m going to break a baby just by holding him/her, I an terrified of giving it my germs, whether I’m sick or not. I never breathe on newborns when holding them, I exhale of my shoulder just in case.

So I have reason to believe that I might be a slightly neurotic first-time Mum who drives her own Mum and older sisters crazy for a few months, before things start slipping to place and feeling comfortable.  And the box could prove to be exactly what is necessary. I hope that Ontario starts a program like this and that in Alberta, it evolves from a pilot program with 1500 families to a full-fledged service offered by Human Services. Especially considering the levels of debt and unemployment in Alberta right now.

xx

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