Wednesday, April 4, 2012
One of my twitter friends passed along a link to an article in The Atlantic about Finland's "Baby Box" and I was fascinated. Apparently new parents can choose either to receive a box of baby goods from the government or a cash grant of 140 Euros. The box, however, is seen as the better deal. The full contents of the box can be seen on the page announcing the 2011 maternity package. It includes:
- outfits in different sizes, shoes, gloves, hats and a winter suit
- cloth diapers
- a sleeping bag
- toys and books
- nursing pads
- condoms ...only 6 of them though!
- the box itself which, along with a mattress and bedding that is provided, doubles as a bed for the newborn as needed for the first few months
I have to admit that I'm impressed. This seems like a measure that would help ensure that all newborns have the essentials that they need to get a good start in life. But I'm sure others will see it as "rampant, baby-coddling, anti-capitalism" (not sure if that was intended to be tongue-in-cheek or an entirely serious comment, but either way I'm sure someone thinks that).
Anyone notice what is NOT in the box? That's right, the exact thing that the government hands out to low-income mothers in the United States -- infant formula and bottles.
To think, I was impressed when the Quebec government gave me a free copy of their book From Tiny Tot to Toddler, which is updated each year and is almost as good as the Dr. Sears Baby Book (and I would argue better than What to Expect...).
What do you think? Is a state-sponsored universal baby shower a great way to get families off on the right foot or too much of a "nanny state"?