Increasing birth rates in Finland - Kela published the 2022 edition of the maternity package ahead of time

The 2022 edition of the maternity package was exceptionally revealed already on 9 December. During the coronavirus epidemic, birth rates in Finland have started increasing, which has not happened for a very long time. Usually the packages for the previous year have not run out until the spring, but in 2022 the edition of the package will change already at the beginning of the year. Kela has paid a lot of attention to the responsibility of the maternity package. Voting was arranged for the snowsuit and the sleeping bag.

Kela offers a maternity package to help the new-born child and the family. The package has also received a lot of attention internationally. The Act on the Maternity Grant will next year become 85 years, and the Act has a large symbolic significance in the Finnish welfare state.

– During the coronavirus epidemic, birth rates in Finland have exceptionally started to increase even though this has not happened in the other Nordic countries. Parents feel a lot of pressure and in European comparison Finnish parents also often experience fatigue - Kela’s maternity package is one way to help families get started and be able to focus on the unique time with the baby. The package is very popular, since roughly two-thirds of families still choose the package instead of a cash payment, says Johanna Aholainen, Benefits Manager at Kela.

The maternity package is durable and ecologically sustainable

The 43 products in the maternity package have been carefully selected with focus on choice of materials and high quality, not forgetting sustainability. The 2022 edition of the package contains 7 products less than this year's edition: the emphasis has been on the quality of the products instead of on the price.

– When choosing products, the emphasis is on high quality and responsible choices of materials instead of on just the price. Of the products produced from cotton, most are made of organic cotton. Some products are partly made from recycled material. Each product must of course meet safety requirements imposed by Finnish and EU law, emphasises Johanna Aholainen, Benefits Manager at Kela.

Favourite patterns and versatile products

Versatility is key in the selection of products also this time. Two of the bodysuits have extenders so that they can be used for longer. In addition, all the trousers in the package have foldable linings in the legs, which also means that the trousers can be used for longer. Durable materials, a harmonious range of colours and possibility of combining different items help to improve the recycling of the products.

One of the most popular items in the maternity package is the versatile snowsuit that can be changed into a sleeping bag for new-borns. Kela arranged a voting for the pattern of the snowsuit and the sleeping bag. The pattern chosen was the dark blue Moomin pattern, which received 59% of the votes. The winning pattern for the sleeping bag that also functions as a quilt was the ringed seal pattern, with 56% of the votes. The pattern is black and white, and minimalistic. A total of more than 8,000 votes were given.

The box itself has a design by Aya Iwaya. The pattern is one of the winning designs from a design competition for the box that Kela arranged in 2017. A new design competition will start next year. The box is also planned to function as the baby’s first bed, the maternity package includes a mattress that fits into the box.

Kela would like response about the contents of the maternity package. This year there are five gauze cloths and, following response received, the blanket is again included in the package.

– Kela continuously updates the contents to increase responsibility and the public will also in the future have a say in the appearance of the products. However, the package still serves its primary purpose in connection with public health, since it is intended to meet the basic needs of the baby and help the family get a good start, says Aholainen.

New book also included - Sami version can be ordered

The 2022 edition of the maternity package includes a book called Ilo pisaroi, which includes rhymes as well as instructions for massaging the baby, in Finnish and Swedish. Those who are entitled to the maternity package can order a version of the book in Sami from Kela.