The Finnish Baby Box. It may sound sinister, but it isn't. In fact it is one of the most incredible things I can imagine a government doing for its pregnant citizens.
In Finland all expecting mothers are sent a "baby box," or maternity package. Initially this was a box of items sent to pregnant woman in need of aid, which began in 1937. By 1949 this box was offered to all pregnant women (if they want to buy their own baby goods, they are in turn given a grant). The box contains many items which a baby will need in its first year of life; Several outfits, including a snow suit, mittens, and booties, as well as blankets, cloth diapers, a teether, a book, nail scissors, bib, toothbrush, baby thermometer, and even condoms (for the parents, not the baby - haha). The patterns and colors vary by year, so parents can identify which babies were born in the same year as their own based on what they are wearing. But wait, that isn't all. The box that all of the items are sent in can be used as a crib (see below)! A mattress and sheets are, of course, included.
Here is an itemized list of everything in the 2010 box.
That is good government, and tax money going towards an incredible cause. Who'd have thunk it!?
I love that the baby box is sent to every mother. What an amazing way to create unity amongst citizens and babies. No one can complain that someone is receiving aid and they are not - it really creates a level playing field. And not to mention people are sent incredibly thoughtful items - cloth diapers and condoms! That's just crazy!
It's so uplifting to hear of a government supporting its citizens. Way to go, Finland.
(To give credit where credit is due, I initially read about this in a blog post on Etsy, and then read about it further on Mothering.com.)