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Kela's 2015 newborn starter kit highlights breastfeeding

Kela's 2015 version of the new baby starter kit provided to all expectant mothers in Finland has no baby bottles - for a reason. The public health watchdog the THL says it wants to ensure that mothers who choose to breast feed can do so successfully.

Äitiyspakkauksen sisältö.
The 2015 newborn starter kit includes a total of 54 items. Image: Kela & Annika Söderblom / Nana Uitto

The newborn starter kits provided by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland - Kela - have been a global hit. In 2015, the kit comes with a new design while new products have also been introduced.

One important theme for the 2015 gift box is breastfeeding. The National Institute for Health and Welfare THL, said it has omitted feeding bottles because of a drive to encourage breastfeeding among new mothers. As a result, the pack includes nipple cream and breast pads.

Other changes to the starter kit include a reduction in the amount of printed material provided. Kela said it has long suspected that much of its literature ends up in household bins. According to the social welfare organisation, this year’s product choices emphasise safety as well as environmental factors.

Kela has chosen to work with manufacturers who employ environment-friendly practices, such as the use of recycled material or environmentally-safe cotton. Moreover since 2000, Kela has provided newborns with reusable diapers and gauze towels.

Contents based on public feedback

Kela’s 2015 baby starter pack includes a number of items that have proven to be a hit with families, such as a thermometer and wrap-front bodysuits.

The box set also provides newborns multi-purpose items, such as with a toasty warm winter snowsuit that converts into a sleeping bag, while the drool bib also doubles as a headscarf. The box in which the items are packed also famously does double duty as baby’s first crib.

Traditionally, the most popular items have been the sleeping bag-cum-quilt, the snowsuit and the onesies. Altogether the package offers 54 items. This year’s product range comes with a fresh new look that features whimsical animal characters created by Marimekko designer Reeta Ek.

Not entirely made in Finland

According to Kela, competitive bidding processes mean that it cannot favour domestic clothing producers. Moreover the clothing industry in Finland has shrunk considerably over the years. As a result, the majority of the products provided in the starter kit have been manufactured in Asia.

Expectant mothers in Finland can choose between the newborn kit and a maternity grant of 140 euros. In cases of multiple births the grant is increased for each additional child, so that it rises to twice the grant for the second baby, three times for the third, and so on. Such mothers may also choose a combination of a grant and starter kit.

Finland has distributed the maternity grant and starter kit since 1937. According to Kela just one-third of expectant mothers opt for the cash grant.

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