In Finland, It Is Totally Normal to Put Your Baby to Sleep in a Box

In Finland, It Is Totally Normal to Put Your Baby to Sleep in a Box

Nancy Mitchell
Nov 25, 2015
(Image credit: The Baby Box Co.)

In The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, one of the infant Herdman children sleeps in a dresser drawer. In Finland, almost every newborn baby goes to sleep in a cardboard box.

Yes, that's right: every baby. Once upon a time, Finland had a pretty high infant mortality rate: 65 out of every 1,000 infants. So in 1938, they started offering a box full of a baby essentials like clothing, outerwear, bathing products, and bedding to expectant mothers. Originally the box was available only to low-income moms, but in 1949 the program was expanded to include all mothers. The only requirement is attending a pre-natal screening before the fourth month of pregnancy. This has helped contribute to Finland having one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

Finnish mothers are given the option of taking a grant for €140 instead of the bundle, but the vast majority choose the box instead: the things inside are worth much more, and having them all delivered to one's door is a huge timesaver. And the box that all these goodies come in is part of the benefit: it's designed to serve as a bassinet where the baby can sleep for his or her first few months of life. So besides being practical, the boxes are also a lovely nod to equality: almost every Finnish baby begins its life in exactly the same place. And according to one Finnish parent, the babies love them.

You can take a look at the contents of 2015's baby box here. Everything is, predictably, adorable, with plenty of snowsuits and leggings for those cold winter climes.

If you are just dying for a Finnish baby box, a company called (appropriately) Finnish Baby Box offers a nearly identical package for only $424.67. If you're searching for a slightly less expensive version with a few less snowsuits, The Baby Box Co. offers boxes starting at $99.99, or just a bed box (with a mattress and sheets) on its own for $69.99. It'll make a great conversation starter when your friends find out your baby sleeps in a box — and I challenge you to find a crib for less.

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