Maternity package

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A Finnish couple rejoice in opening their maternity package

The Maternity package (Finnish: Äitiyspakkaus) is a kit granted by the Finnish social security institution Kela, to all expectant or adoptive parents who live in Finland or are covered by the Finnish social security system. The package contains children's clothes and other necessary items, such as nappies, bedding, cloth, gauze towels and child-care products.[1] It was first issued in 1938[2] to parents with a low income, and contained a blanket, crib sheets, diapers, and fabric which parents could use to sew clothing for the baby.[3]

From 1949 it is given to all mothers-to-be provided they visited a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy and the pregnancy has lasted at least 154 days.[4] Contents of the package are updated nearly every year.[5]


In 1949, the box was made a standard gift to all expectant mothers who visited a doctor before the fourth month of pregnancy[3] via the Finnish Maternity Grants Act. A baby bottle was later added to the package, but was removed in later packages to encourage breastfeeding.[3][6] Requiring pregnant women to visit a doctor in order to receive the package was done to ensure that the women received proper prenatal care.[7]

The box containing the package transforms into a crib in which many newborns have their first naps.[7] A mother may choose to take the maternity package, or a cash grant of 140 euros, but 95% of Finnish mothers choose the box because it's worth much more.[7] Maternity package is applied for on-line banking website of Kela, or on a paper form.[5]

A maternity package is not a commercial product and therefore Kela cannot sell it.[5] Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge received a maternity package as a gift from Kela in 2013. Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden were given one in 2012.[4]

The current package contents include: bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, nappies and cream, bedding and a small mattress (allowing the box to be used as a crib), [8] a hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, wash cloth, muslin squares, a picture book, teething toy, bra pads, and condoms.[9]


The program has resulted in increased prenatal care for pregnant women and decreased infant mortality.[3] The program is now considered a part of the culture of Finland.[6]


  1. ^ Kela: Maternity package.
  2. ^ Korppi-Tommola 2006, p. 15.
  3. ^ a b c d United Press International 2013.
  4. ^ a b BBC 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Kela: Maternity grant.
  6. ^ a b Tierney 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Lee 2013.
  8. ^ Lee, Helena (2013-06-04). "Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-07-08. 
  9. ^ "Royal baby: William and Catherine get Finnish baby box". BBC News. 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-08. 


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