Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Baby in a Box

A few of my friends have either just had or are about to have their first babies. I've noticed that those who will be NYC mothers often get asked, "will you be moving into a larger apartment?" to which they almost always answer, "babies don't take up a lot of space for the first year, so we'll wait to move."

This common refrain is extremely practical in such an expensive city -- when one is about to spend a good deal of extra money on a newborn and all the doctor appointments, clothing, toys, and other supplies that go along with them, it certainly is wise to not spend additional money on a larger, and likely more expensive, home if possible.

Baby in a Box
images clockwise from left: Milla Kontkanen via BBC News, Kela via E! OnlineKela via E! Online

Finnish babies, on the other hand, not only take up little space, but also tend to sleep in cardboard boxes, no matter their parents' income level. Is it not wonderful that it is considered commonplace to use a cardboard box instead of a bassinet or a second crib for another room? Using a recyclable cardboard box for a newborn item that will be outgrown quickly is such a great idea.

I wasn't familiar with Finnish babies sleeping in boxes until the Finnish government sent the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge one of the boxes over the summer. The reason it's become commonplace in Finland is because the government gives mothers the (quite adorably printed) box, stuffed full of baby supplies including a small mattress, so it is considered quite normal. If it would not be considered odd here in The States, using a box would be a wonderful way to save a little money -- cribs and bassinets are not inexpensive -- and save a bit of space, which is something to always be mindful of in New York.

When I was little, there was one beach house my family rented where my parents turned a dresser drawer into a temporary crib. I'm not sure if a travel crib was forgotten or if it was decided it would be best to carry one fewer item, but either way, the dresser drawer was moved to the floor and it served its new purpose well.

I love the idea that something as simple as a cardboard box is as safe and useful as the expensive cribs available. I, for one, would love to see NYC parents borrowing this idea. Wouldn't it be neat if it became commonplace here as well?

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"There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- God damn it, you've got to be kind."
-Kurt Vonnegut