Long before my baby had even been born, the crib was already set up in what would become her bedroom. It's silly, really. I planned to have her sleep in a bassinet in my room so I could breastfeed. But babies need cribs. That's just how it's done. Right? Well. Maybe. Here in America. But have you heard how they do it in Finland? Most Finnish moms let their babies sleep in cardboard boxes.
America? This is yet another sign we're taking this whole parenting thing to extremes.
Apparently over in the Lapland -- original home of Santa Claus, I should note (they know a LOT about children over there) -- every pregnant woman in the country has been given a gift from the government since the 1930s. There's a mess of stuff inside, but the item that's making a big buzz in parenting circles this week is the box it all comes in. As the BBC -- which shared the now viral "babies in boxes" story -- explains:
With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby's first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box's four cardboard walls.
Mothers have a choice between taking the box, or a cash grant, currently set at 140 euros, but 95% opt for the box as it's worth much more.
Oh, and on top of that, Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the entire world. Finnish moms don't have the fear of SIDS that perches on the shoulder of every American mom the day we give birth.
Got that? It's not just OK to let your baby sleep in a cardboard box. It might even be safer!
So why am I sharing all this? Because I think your baby should sleep in a cardboard box?
Not necessarily. My daughter slept in a bassinet and then in a crib, and it worked out pretty well for us. She is soon going to turn 8 years old, and that crib was long ago converted into the bed that's now in her big girl room.
We just followed safety rules -- back to sleep, no crib bumpers, etc.
Kids can be safe in cribs.
But I remember the stress over getting that crib purchased and put together.
I agonized over ordering it, then over putting it together, and finally over actually transferring my daughter into it after her lengthy stint of rooming in.
Now, I look back, and it's all rather silly. Did she care about where she slept? Not really. She could -- and often did -- fall asleep anywhere. On my lap. On her father's chest. In her car seat. In her stroller. In our bed. On the couch.
Why did I freak out over that crib?
Because I felt like I had to. It was part of what "had" to be done for my daughter. I "had" to get her a crib because, well, that's just what you do.
Just as we all hang a mobile right above said crib (even though the baby can't actually even SEE IT!) and buy dozens upon dozens of toys ... for a kid who'd be happy with the measuring spoons from the kitchen drawer.
So much of what we've come to see as necessary for our babies really isn't.
Why we're this way I don't quite now: is it that we're more materialistic in America and therefore think we need to buy things in order to be good parents? No doubt that's a part of it. It sounds bad, but it does at least come from a good place.
We all just really want to be good at this parenting thing, to give our babies the very best shot at life.
But if this story out of Finland tells us anything, it's this: sometimes simple is better. In this case, it may even be safer.
Got that? Taking the easy way out doesn't make you a bad mom.
Just think ... good moms let their babies sleep in cardboard boxes.
Would you let YOUR baby sleep in a cardboard box?
Image via stev.ie/Flickr