So, according to a recent BBC article, it seems that Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes.
“For 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.”
This is so much better than what we’re doing you guys. I wish I had seen this article earlier, actually, because my father-in-law works in the container industry, selling boxes! He’s basically a crib salesman and I didn’t even take advantage of it. Sometimes I’m such an idiot.
Anyway. Our babies here in the US sleep in the equivalent of well decorated lofts, but at night it’s like the lofts are stripped bare by thieves who have a penchant for textiles.
Let me show you what I mean. The photo below is lovely, but it is a total farce on account of the fact that there are like 10 deadly weapons in that crib. Ok there are only 4, but that is at least 3 more deadly weapons than you are going to want to have in the crib with your baby.
As you already know, (assuming you are a “with it” mom who has read at least 35 terrifying articles about the myriad of dangers to your sleeping baby) the crib, in actuality, needs to look pretty much like an empty prison cell. Think “Orange is the New Black” when you’re shopping for a nursery theme. No frills. No blankets. Nothing to cuddle with. No large inmates named Bubba. Nothing inviting whatsoever. Bumpers are a complete no-no and putting them on the crib is very much the same as leaving a set of Cutco knives with your little one. The smiley face pillow (#4 in the photo above) is basically a revolver.
In our nursery we have a crib that looks kind of like the one above (read: welcoming) from the hours of 7 am to 6 pm. But each night before bed I remove anything that looks appealing and leave Nolan with nothing but the prison bars of his cold, bare crib. Sure he looks tiny and lonely in that jail cell, but safety first I tell him.
The Finnish are doing it correctly right out of the gate. They skip the whole facade of the decorated crib and head straight to an empty box. It’s cheaper, more practical, and your baby doesn’t give a sh*t anyway. As an added bonus, if you start them off in an empty box, they will later have a better appreciation for IKEA furniture.
The Finnish not only give new moms the bed/box, but they FILL THE BOX with tons of awesome stuff for the new baby. Check it out:
Items included in the box:
- Mattress, mattress cover, undersheet, duvet cover, baby blanket, sleeping bag/quilt
- Box itself doubles as a crib
- Snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties
- Light hooded suit and knitted overalls
- Socks and mittens, knitted hat and *balaclava
- Bodysuits, romper suits and leggings in unisex colours and patterns
- Hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, bath thermometer, nappy cream, wash cloth
- Cloth nappy set and muslin squares
- Picture book and teething toy
- Bra pads, condoms
First of all, the condoms. It’s a subtle reminder that, despite the fact that you LOVE the baby you just had SO MUCH, you absolutely do NOT want another one headed your way anytime soon. Good lord no. Second, WTF is balaclava? Because this is what came up when I did a google search:
So they give your baby a mask to rob banks in, as far as I can tell. Oh yeah, and they throw in bodysuits and clippers and blankets and toys. The Finnish hospitals basically throw you a shower AND prepare you for a life of crime! When Nolan was born I tried to take the little nasal aspirator from our hospital room and they arrested me. Ok they didn’t arrest me but I sure didn’t leave with that aspirator. Thanks, America. I did get like 25 adults diapers and some hospital underwear though, so, kind of the same as in Finland.
This whole Finnish thing got me to thinking, and I realized that if American hospitals were asked to fill up the cribs of our new babies, they would have a lot of space to fill, which may be a little daunting to the hospital gift-giving staff. In Nolan’s crib you could easily fit a Bumbo, 17 loveys, a carseat, an Exersaucer, a double BOB stroller, a diaper bag, “Goodnight Moon,” and a lawnmower. That may be a little more than the hospitals want to spring for. But hey, it’s America, and we like to do things big here. Like our hair and our waistlines.
In all seriousness, rock on Finland. I think this is pretty awesome and I’d recommend reading the article if you’d like to learn about a place where they are combining logic with care for their families.
A quote from Finnish father Mark Bosworth: “This felt to me like evidence that someone cared, someone wanted our baby to have a good start in life. And now when I visit friends with young children it’s nice to see we share some common things. It strengthens that feeling that we are all in this together.“
Wouldn’t we all like a little more of that, to feel like we’re all in this together?