Canada is adopting one of Finland’s greatest ideas: baby boxes

Canada is adopting one of Finland's greatest ideas: baby boxes

Finland started giving out to parents of newborns for free?

They’re boxes with basically everything you need to keep an infant alive, healthy, and happy:clothes, a towel, a quilt, diapers, bibs, a book, a toy. The kit even comes with a mattress, so the box itself can be used as the baby’s first crib.

Canada is adopting one of Finland's greatest ideas: baby boxes

For over 75 years, Finland’s baby boxes have helped the country achieve one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. In 2016, the tradition is coming to CanadaSince its introduction in the late 1930s, the country has seen the infant mortality rate plummet, something experts partly attribute to the box. (National health care and a centralized hospital system played a role, too.) It’s one of those genius but simple ideas that can really improve and even save lives.

The tradition began in 1938 as a way to give all Finnish babies an equal start in life. The baby boxes were given by the government to low-income families and new mothers had to visit their doctor before the fourth month of pregnancy in order to receive one.

The maternity box is essentially a care package given to every new mother in Finland. The cardboard box contains all the supplies a new parent would need, including clothes, diapers and toys. The box itself even comes complete with a built-in mattress, so that it can be used as the baby’s first bed.

Since the program began, Finland’s infant mortality rate has significantly decreased from 10 per cent of babies dying before the age of one to just 0.3 per cent. As a result, Finland has inspired more than 30 countries to adopt a similar program, including Canada.

Now Canada is picking up on the trend too

The University of Calgary is launching a study to see if new parents in Alberta could also benefit from these «baby starter kits.»

The study is part of the University of Calgary’s Welcome to Parenthood program, which has previously offered parent coaching and parenthood packages, including a guidebook and a dry-erase board for parents to list the help they need.

Now Canada is picking up on the trend too

Here’s how the study works: New moms will pick up the baby boxes from Parent Link Centers a couple months before their due date. While they’re there, they’ll also fill out a questionnaire and get connected with another parent mentor in their community. Researchers will follow up with the new parents after they give birth to see how they’re adjusting to life with a baby.

Now, with the support of grants, a new program called “Welcome to Parenthood” will be distributing 1,500 baby boxes to Canadian parents starting January 2016.

Karen Benzies, the lead researcher for the study, told the Calgary Herald that they hope the boxes and mentorship will help parents gain their footing during a time of transition. «You’re going to be successful, but every parent needs a little help,» she said.

The initiative came about after Jennifer Clary, co-founder of The Baby Box Co., the first company to make baby boxes outside of Europe, teamed up with the Alberta Government and University of Calgary. While the company commercially sells different versions of the baby box, they also work with governments and non-profit organizations to customize packages for different communities.

The period shortly after birth can feel lonely for new parents

“We’re using the basic baby box, with the mattress, and we’ve collaborated with the province on some basic additions,” says Jennifer Weber, Government of Alberta’s senior manager of Early Childhood Development Services.

The period shortly after birth can feel lonely for new parents

New babies require a lot of attention, and it can be overwhelming and isolating to suddenly be responsible for another human life. Particularly for moms struggling with postpartum depression, a support system (like the baby box) could be super valuable during this time.

Besides the mattress, Canada’s baby boxes will include onesies, breast pads and plush toys. Additionally, in their package, new parents will also receive an online video program of experts answering baby questions.

Canada’s baby box isn’t just going to be a huge help to parents, either

Researchers think that having better access to parenting resources will help the kids themselves in early childhood, too.

According to data from World Bank, Canada’s infant mortality rate is quite low at 4 deaths per thousand births. Despite this, Weber says the maternity boxes are still needed in the country.

Plus, the boxes could be coming to the U.S. soon, too

They’re such a good idea that a U.S.-based baby box mission is headed to Texas in the form of a pilot study,according to WFAA. And even though the U.S. doesn’t offer free baby boxes to most new parents just yet, you can also purchase your very own right here.

“We know Canada’s doing very well, but Canadians still have parenting issues that are unique to us,” she said. “We have vulnerable families and many communities with their own particular needs. We have teen moms, single parents, families in temporary accommodation.”

According to Weber, Canada’s maternity box is currently still in the testing stage and will only be available in Alberta in 2016. The hope is to have widespread distribution as soon as possible, but that is likely a long way off.

References: upworthy huffingtonpost


Infant colic

Infant colic

Infant colic

Infant colic is a common symptom that presents at or about 1 month of age and prevails to about 3 month s of age. The exact cause in not known but there are several theories to explain it. The most plausible one is that the baby’s intestines are still undeveloped and therefore become oversensitive to the movement of food and air through it. The frequent swallowing of air as they suckle also causes more air to accumulate in the gut. The pain that comes with movement of foods and air accumulation causes her to cry.

How do children with colic behave?

The baby is always moody and fussy with persistent crying. This may last hours if the colic is not resolved and may come frequently for up to 3 hours per day. The child cries by pulling the knees up to chest, and passing some flatus. Usually there is no fever present. The colic may star at 3 to 4 weeks and the crying episodes peak at about at 6 weeks and resolves by 3–4 months.

How to manage infant colic

This is mostly a nightmare to most parent especially new parents. The most important thing is not to blame yourselves for not dong enough to prevent or manage the condition. Try to follow these steps

  • Do not over stimulate the baby. Provide a calm environment may be with some cool soothing music in the back ground.
  • You may carry the baby and swaddle her by swinging or even give a car ride to soothe.
  • Avoid medication and formula changes. Encourage breaks for the primary caregiver.
  • Burping your baby correctly may help alleviate any air that is trapped in the gut and thus reduce the colic, although it’s unlikely to prevent the symptoms altogether.
  • If you’re bottle feeding the baby, watch the position of the bottle to be sure that she does not suck in any air. Always ensure the best breastfeeding practices such as proper positioning of the breast (to fill the mouth of the baby). Proper positioning of the breast ensure that less air will be sucked in
  • Ensure that when you are bottle feeding, the holes in the nipples aren’t too small. Tiny holes are extremely frustrating for a baby because she has to suck harder and for longer and this leads to more air being sucked in to the gut.
  • Try some anti-colic medications. Some baby colic drops contain dimethicone, or simethicone that has an anti-foaming action on the stomach contents. It is however important to note that there is no guarantee that it will cure your baby’s colic

Questions about baby colic

Does my diet have anything to do with baby colic?

It’s quite possible that what ever you are eating may trigger or even make the colic worse with time. How ever babies who are prone to colic tend to have symptoms on most days, and your diet can obviously vary from day to day. Diets with foods such as citrus fruits or the juices may worsen, or even perhaps trigger, colic in breast-fed babies.
Another possible trigger of baby colic is cow’s milk. Some infants have allergies to the protein in cow milk and may present with colic, so try to eliminate milk and dairy products from your diet when this becomes persistent.

What other foods should I avoid to prevent colic?

If your baby develops persistent colicky symptoms more frequently, it may also be due to some of the foods you eat that trigger this. Perennial offenders include “gassy” foods such as cabbage, onions, garlic, broccoli, and turnips; and caffeine. You may have to change your diet to avoid this. It is however of paramount importance to note that if the baby is exclusively bottle feeding and you avoid giving cow milk, find diets that have rich sources of calcium to supplement to loss of calcium.