Our school editor, Jessica Suotmaa is currently blogging from Turku, Finland, where she is resting with family as she prepares to give birth to her second child.
Before you wonder what I’m talking about, I should state that Finland is a welfare state with a very low population (about 5 million) and therefore excellent benefits that encourage child-rearing (the more, the merrier!) As such, the baby essentials that the government “dictates” is not so much a dictation as it is a gift. Every year there is a new newborn package (with different designs/patterns/color themes), but families are also given the option of cashing out (this year it’s worth 140 euros).
The ‘maternity box‘ is highly valued and discussed by expectant mothers here. Even non-parents will often ask if you will be getting your “maternity box” soon, and if you’re excited about its contents!
I have to admit, looking back at how I’ve scrambled for “newborn shopping recommendations” and spent hours on Taobao (in Beijing) looking for import newborn items from my list–the newborn gift box would’ve saved me a lot of time, effort, and worry. Unfortunately for me, the box is something that has to be ordered two months prior to due date, and, as an “overseas Finn”, I don’t qualify for it. However, what I regret most is not that I didn’t get the box two years ago (or that I won’t be getting it this year), but that I didn’t use the box as a reference for what I need; it would’ve saved me so much trouble!
So this year, I thought I’d take a closer look at what’s in the package and see what’s “recommended” for a newborn.
- The actual cardboard box, which doubles as an infant bed or bassinet.
- Full winter gear (snowsuit) with a full-body jacket, mittens, and “shoes” (60-74cm)
- Sleeping bag (95x95cm), which can be used in the stroller, in the car seat, and at home (if you want to be frugal).
- A “lighter” hooded full body suit that isn’t waterproof (for fall and spring).
- A wool full body suit (1, 68-74cm) for layering purposes.
- Baby ski hat (I’ve been wondering if this is really necessary in Beijing…)
- Footless overalls (1, 62-74cm).
- Overalls (2, 62-68cm).
- Long-sleeve kimono body (1, 50-56cm) and overalls (3, 50-56cm).
- Long-sleeve kimono body (2, 50-56cm).
- A long-sleeve body (3, 62-68cm).
- A long-sleeve body (4, 68-74cm).
- A long-sleeve body (5, 62-78cm).
- A long-sleeve body (6, 62-68cm).
- A long-sleeve body (7, 62-68cm).
- A long-sleeve kimono body (8, 50-56cm).
- Pants with socks (1, 50-56cm).
- Pants (2, 68-74cm) .
- Pants with socks (3, 50-56cm).
- Pants (4, 62-68cm).
- Pants (5, 62-68cm).
- Pants (6, 68-74cm).
- Stockings for layering (62-68cm).
- Sock (1, 19-21) and mitten set.
- Socks (2, 19-21).
- Full-body suit (2, 62-68cm).
- Bedding: mattress (700x428x40mm), mattress protector (90x150cm), blanket (80x120cm), flat sheet (90x150cm).
- Infant towel (85x85cm).
- Reusable diaper for 0-8 month olds (3-11kg) and changing cloths (80x80cm).
- Hygiene products: washable nursing pad set, nail clippers, toothbrush, digital thermometer, baby powder (90g), nipple cream (30g lanolin), condoms (6x), menstrual pads (10x), bath water thermometer, soft-bristled hair brush
- Waterproof bib (1).
- Baby’s first book.
- Triangle bib (2).
While I’m not in love with the colors and designs for this year, I do like the recommendations. I remember reading an article on newborn essentials that had a “range”, but it didn’t have sizes, so it was hard to picture how many onesies I needed to buy in each size. My mother kept reminding me that babies come in all sizes (my son was pretty big and fattened up quickly), and that I shouldn’t buy too many of “smaller sizes” (0-3 months), so for my baby shower (onesie decorating activity), I bought 5 of each size, and then of course I had other onesies as well. It turned out that we really needed all those onesies, even the bigger ones, because my son had colic and was always puking or otherwise dirtying his clothes. In the end, what we learned from all this was that just like I can wear my husband’s clothes (while pregnant) and look like I just stepped out of the early 90s, babies don’t have to wear the perfect size.
Something to take away from this box is that the clothes range from roughly 3 month size (50-56cm) to about 12 month size (74-78cm). Maybe all the bodies will be worn within the first six months, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used later. We’ve managed to stretch the life of a sweater for 1.5 years just by rolling sleeves (admittedly, my son was very chubby at six months), and jackets for over a year (2 of the same season!)
Now, I’m not saying these clothes (and products) are enough to last a whole year, but there is the potential–after all, the whole purpose of the box is to ensure that every newborn child has the bare minimum necessities and is not lacking in clothing or basic products.